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The European Union is on a tear with proposals which will force companies to make electronics more sustainable.
We have already heard how the EU plans to force phone companies to settle on only one charging connector (likely USB-C), which is expected to force Apple to abandon the lightning connector.
Now, as part of their Circular Economy Action Plan, the EU is also planning to encourage companies to provide software updates for “obsolete” devices.
They propose to:
focus on electronics and ICT as a priority sector for implementing the ‘right to repair’, including a
right to update obsolete software;
The move is all part of their new Right to Repair initiative, which may force companies to make parts and components for electronic devices available for many years after a device leaves production. Existing law already forces companies to provide parts for home appliances for 10 years after release.
No legislation has been written yet, so it is not clear exactly what form the Right to Update will take. At it’s simplest companies may release an open spec for their hardware and unlock bootloaders, allowing the community to update devices, or of course, they may just lightly maintain an OS image without any improvements over time.
What is the true however is that the EU is planning to shake up how business as usual is done in the electronics market, which, given the environmental crisis, can only be good news.
Read the full “Circular Economy Action Plan, The European Green Deal” proposal here.