According to Grist, Microsoft plans explore how increasing access to information and parts for repairing devices can reduce our carbon footprint. He intends to respond to his findings by the end of 2022. This means that repair manuals and parts will be available outside of Microsoft’s own authorized repair network. Microsoft has reached an agreement with As You Sow, a non-profit shareholder advocacy group dedicated to environmental and social corporate responsibility.
In June, as you sow served a shareholder resolution criticizing Microsoft’s restrictions on device repairs, while Microsoft has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint. The argument behind the resolution is that e-waste is a critical issue for the environment and that if consumers find it easier to repair their devices, they will less likely to throw them away.
Microsoft announced this week that it will increase the maintainability of its devices in explicit support of the Right to Repair movement. Microsoft agreed with the shareholder advocacy group, apparently for environmental reasons.
Many companies have come under criticism in recent years for only allowing certain vendors to repair the devices they sell, including Apple. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently expressed support for Right to Repair, a movement that claims manufacturers make it easier for customers to repair products they buy themselves or make it easier for third-party suppliers to purchase repair supplies. As You Sow criticizes Microsoft’s lobbying for federal repair rights bills in the United States in the past.
iFixit told Grist that shareholder decisions such as the As You Sow resolution have been effective in driving action to tackle climate change.
“We’ve seen shareholder decisions become an important tool for climate activists,” said Kerry Sheehan, director of US policy at iFixit. “We see this being applied in the context of renovations, in part because the two are very interconnected.”