Although Apple is gradually expanding its independent repair program, the company is still lobbying against ‘Right to Repair’ legislation on the pretext of protecting users’ privacy and security. However, the company’s shareholders are unconvinced by this argument.
Apple might soon have to present its case against the ‘Right to Repair movement to its shareholders because U.S. PIRG, with its affiliated mutual fund company Green Century Funds, has filed shareholder resolutions seeking an explanation for the company’s “anti-competitive repair policies”.
Apple’s opposition to the ‘Right to Repair’ movement questions its commitment to the environment
Questioning Apple and John Deere (an American manufacturer of agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery, diesel engines, and other heavy equipment) repair program which allows repairs by the company or authorized service providers which charge consumers a higher premium or even make them buy new products, adding to the e-waste problem.
In addition, shareholders are worried that Apple’s resistance to increasing political pressure to enforce ‘Right to Repair’ policies, could invite trouble and risk for them (shareholders).
Thus, the filing argues that when users can repair the product by themselves or get them repaired by their preferred service provider, it saves money and works as a deterrent to the proliferation of e-waste by prolonging the life of devices.
“Investors are extremely concerned about Apple’s disingenuous combination of promoting environmental sustainability while inhibiting product repair. Depriving farmers of the ability to fix their machinery runs counter to the ethos founder John Deere surely set for this iconic brand. Now, for the betterment of the company and all Americans, it must stop.” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich.
Pressing of Right to Repair reforms, U.S. PIRG demands that the companies must provide the documentation, tools, diagnostic software, and other necessities to self repair their devices/ products. And Apple should revise its policy, if not for consumers then for the environment.
Apple has ambitious climate and environmental goals and is often lauded for leadership on issues of sustainability. Samuelrich notes: “The company risks losing its reputation as a climate leader if it does not cease its anti-repair practices.”
“Electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, and by 2040 internet-connected devices will account for 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Access to product repair is critical for extending the lifespan of electronic devices, thereby preventing wasted resources and reducing emissions … Green Century will press Apple to reverse its anti-repair practices in order to mitigate regulatory and reputational risks and bolster the company’s ambitious climate commitments.”
Supporting the Right to Repair movement, Apple’s Co-Founder Steve Wozniak said that it is monopolistic to not sell products as open-source.