The future is calling

7351

backers
Back cover

Phone characteristics

Designed to be repaired – can be fully disassembled with a single screwdriver

Battery super-quick to replace – in 5 seconds, like the old days

10 years of software support – yes, we mean it, it works for a decade

10 year FREE spare part guarantee – delivered in 24 hours

Built with care – child labour-free, recyclable, sustainable, organic, fair trade

Ready to take a break from broken phones?

Fed up with constant upgrades?

Want to add years to your current phone’s life expectancy?

Reading this and thinking HELL YEAH?

“After years of regularly dropping my phone and being told by the manufacturer that repair is impossible or costs the same as a new model, I’m happy to have found a real alternative.”

Sofia, Italy

“I was able to replace my cracked screen using the screwdriver I have at home in less than 2 minutes. I still can’t believe it!”

Martin, France

Unacceptable. I need at least one new camera on the back of the phone every year, or who will whoop at my ‘keynote’?

Tim, Apple, USA

Sounds too good to be true?
Of course, it is.

Because of intense lobbying from Big Tech, products like the 10 Year Smartphone remain a dream. But we can change this. The EU is about to put forward measures to make products more repairable and long-lasting.

What we need Europe to do

  • Phones that are actually repairable – easily openable, with parts that can be removed with accessible tools, and no software locks
  • Batteries that are easily removable and replaceable without special tools. Like when we were kids. It’s not rocket science, guys. 
  • Software supports that last 10 years, so the internet works as long as the phone. 
  • Spare parts and repair information that are accessible to everyone – not just professional repairers
  • Repairs that are actually affordable and accessible – by addressing the cost of spare parts
  • Information on how well a phone can be repaired compared to other phones on the market (repair score)

To:
Mr Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
Mr Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market
Mr Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European
Green Deal
Ms Margrethe Vestager, European Commission Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit
for the Digital Age and European Commissioner for Competition

Why Europe needs a 10-year smartphone

210 million smartphones are sold annually in the EU – that’s almost 7 every second. And despite 77% of EU citizens preferring to repair their goods rather than buy new ones, only around 11% will repair their phones when they break.

The only way to reverse the trend is to urgently put an end to premature obsolescence. We are therefore asking Europe to be a true leader, and ensure that every new smartphone put on the market lasts for at least 10 years.

In March 2020, the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan promised a “new Right to Repair” and measures to ensure that sustainable products, services and business models become the norm.

This commitment was more than welcomed as the production of electronics contributes significantly to the ecological crisis.

But the initial Right to Repair measures implemented this year for household appliances are far from being enough. Not only do they restrict these improvements mainly to professional repairers, they do not address the central issues of the cost of repair and software updates.

All Europeans should have the right to use their smartphone for at least 10 years. That is the spirit of our campaign. Phones need to be easy to disassemble so that batteries and other parts can be easily replaced. All spare parts should be affordably available to consumers as well as repair professionals. Manufacturers must commit to providing repair information and long-term software and security updates.

Finally, everyone should be able to make informed purchasing decisions about the repairability of the phones they’re buying. That is why we are asking for a European repair index, highlighting the most easily and affordably repairable phones.

These measures are key not only to achieve Europe’s sustainability ambitions but also to create new jobs and build resilient communities.

Smartphones are everywhere, and by regulating them the Commission has a unique opportunity to influence a global shift in the way they are designed, repaired and reused. Yet, we are already witnessing manufacturers asking to delay the implementation of future regulations – something we simply cannot afford.

A 10-year phone sounds like a challenge, but it is well within reach.

The time to act is now. The latest IPCC report could not be clearer and as you are attending COP26, words need to be supported by real action and legislation. Extending the lifetime of smartphones by just one year could save 2.1 million tonnes in annual CO2 emissions. Going further and extending the lifetime from 3 to 10 years would save 6.2 million tonnes annually by 2030 – a 42% reduction on the overall footprint of the products. This is the right level of ambition for a continent striving for climate neutrality.

And there is no reason why all devices – not just smartphones – should not last at least 10 years. Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world – 53.6 million tonnes were discarded in 2019, out of which only 17% were properly recycled, let alone repaired. Most consumer electrical and electronic products are not expected to be included in the forthcoming Ecodesign Working Plan, proposals for a repair index, or other measures foreseen in the Circular Electronics Initiative – this must change.

Our campaign is supported by leading thinkers and activists in the repair, digital rights, design and sustainability sectors who are all co-signatories of this letter.

The time for ambition is now.

Our demands:

  • The bundling of spare parts should be prevented through dedicated ecodesign rules as it allows manufacturers to group together spare parts. This significantly increases the cost of spare parts and hence the cost of repair, making it less likely to happen. It is also a waste of materials when only one part fails.
  • Spare parts should be mandated to be delivered within 3 working days.
  • The issue of the price of spare parts needs to be addressed as part of the Circular Electronics Initiative to ensure repair becomes truly affordable, for example by preventing any barriers on using reused parts.
  • Part pairing (the use of software by manufacturers to pair some spare parts to an individual unit of a device) should be prevented and software updates should be extended to 10 years. The current proposals for ecodesign rules will only require software support for 3-5 years.
  • A repair index should be introduced to help citizens identify the most repairable phones. However, the current methodology critically ignores the issue of the cost of repair. Not only technical feasibility determines the likelihood of a repair, price does too. This should not be neglected.
  • These measures need to be implemented fast – considering the changing nature of products concerned and the ecological and social emergencies. This requires more Commission resources and staff to be made available for EU’s product policy.

Sign the letter

Address
Consent
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.