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Europe needs a 10 Year Smartphone – a new campaign launches

  • Over 200 million smartphones are sold annually in the EU – that’s almost 7 every second 
  • 77% of EU citizens would prefer to repair their goods rather than buy new ones, only around 11% will repair their phones when they break. This is because they’re often impossible or too expensive to fix 
  • New 10 year smartphone campaign to reverse these trends and make longer lasting smartphones the norm
  • 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 their overall footprint

The Right to Repair Europe coalition is launching the 10 year smartphone campaign to highlight the environmental, social and economic urgency for smartphones to last much longer than they currently do.

The 23rd of September marks the anniversary of the launch of the Android operating system and comes a day before Apple’s new iPhone 13 goes on sale. Both companies are notorious for their products’ short lives; Google’s phones only get software updates for 3 years and Apple’s suffer from unrepairable design, spare parts only being available to authorised repairers and the use of software as a barrier to repair.

“We believe the measures needed for all Europeans to have the right to use their phones for at least 10 years are key not only to achieve Europe’s sustainability ambitions but also to create new jobs and build resilient communities,” says Right to Repair Europe campaigner Chloé Mikolajczak.

The coalition campaign is revealing the barriers to truly longer lasting phones by setting up a parody crowdfunder for a product that would last for at least 10 years. Some characteristics of a “10 Year Smartphone” include: 

  1. Design for repair: The 10 Year Smartphone is easy to open, disassemble and repair with a single screwdriver so that EVERYONE can choose to do it if they want to. No glue involved or other tricks. This includes batteries.
  2. 10 years of software support: Software support is often dropped after only a few years, affecting performance and security. The 10 Year Smartphone has a decade of software support and doesn’t use software as a barrier to repair.
  3. 10 years of spare parts availability: Genuine spare parts are often impossible to get or way too expensive. The 10 Year Smartphone’s parts would be delivered in 24 hours. To do this, broken phones will be collected and functioning parts recouped.

 Visitors to can learn more, watch our “launch” video and sign the letter. 

Indeed, to complement this parody product, the campaign is circulating a letter, aimed at the European Commission and co-signed by more than 25 leading thinkers and activists in the repair, digital rights, design and sustainability sectors including Leyla Acaroglu (Disruptive Design), Jason Hicke (RSA), Thibaud Hug de Larauze (Backmarket) and David Cormand (The Greens).

The letter and the signatures from the public will be handed over to the European Commission at the end of October, a few weeks before the European Commission presents its new “Circular Electronics Initiative”. 

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.

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

About the Right to Repair campaign:  

The Right to Repair European campaign is a coalition of more than 80 organisations from 18 European countries fighting for longer-lasting and more repairable products.

The campaign members represent community repair groups, environmental activists, social economy actors, self repair advocates and any citizen who would like to obtain their right to repair.

About the Circular Electronics Initiative:

An EU initiative to promote longer product lifetimes, implement right to repair (including right to update obsolete software). It is expected in Q4 2021.

For more information, please contact:

Chloé Mikolajczak

Right to Repair campaigner