Sustainable technology certifier, TCO Development has expressed its support of the development of the Right to Repair with director of purchaser engagement, Clare Hobby invited to speak at the public hearings today.

TCO Development sees the Right to Repair inquiry as fundamental for more extended product use, the shift to a regenerative circular economy and the prevention of e-waste.

TCO Development is behind a global sustainability certification, TCO Certification, used by enterprises and the public sector to assess their IT procurement decisions.

In an interview with Appliance Retailer, Hobby said there are three key things she would like to see emerge from the inquiry.

“The first is a regulatory push to require manufacturers to make product repair a more viable option. This includes actions like making repair manuals, product schematics and replacement components available to all,” she said.

“The second would be an index that shows potential buyers the repairability of products under consideration, although regulatory progress can be slow.

“And thirdly, I’d like to see this inquiry inspire volume buyers in the public and private sector to engage directly with their IT vendors on the importance of longer life and repairability. We know from our 30 years of experience that when volume buyers use their voices to demand product sustainability, it has the power to drive these systemwide shifts.”

When asked for her advice to brands looking to produce products and develop initiatives with circularity in mind, Hobby said it is about keeping products in use for longer at their highest possible value.

“Listen to your customers and focus on products that can be used longer and can be repaired. Particularly in IT, longer use is the best thing we can do to reduce lifetime greenhouse gas emissions – 80% of which happen during the manufacturing phase – before it even reaches the desktop,” she explained.

“With our certification TCO Certified, this is an area where we have put a lot of effort into criteria designed to extend product life and material recovery. By specifying TCO Certified, IT buyers can be confident they are sourcing computers and other devices designed for circularity. We need to move away from the existing replacement cycles of three to four years.”

Hobby believes there is important awareness building to be done that focuses on things we can do to prevent the premature disposal of products.

“Lots of IT devices get thrown away or stored while they still have plenty of good life left in them. I think the conversation should focus on how can you extend the life? Could you replace the battery or memory for example? Could you sell used products to a refurbisher?

“Many organisations are extending the use of IT by redeploying them to less intensive tasks in their own organisations for example. We need to increase awareness about environmentally responsible disposal options for when all other options are exhausted, but let’s see how we can avoid disposal in the first place,” she added.