Goodbye to the repairability index, welcome to the durability index! From January 1, 2024, certain electrical and electronic equipment will have to display this new index as provided for by the Anti-waste law for a circular economy (AGEC). Sellers of smartphones, televisions and washing machines will be the first to be affected by this change in display.
More complete, the durability index aims to promote the longevity of a smartphone. We find, of course, the criteria related to repairability such as the quality of the documentation, the easy access to the elements most frequently subjected to breakdowns such as the screen, the battery or the camera as well as the availability and the price of spare parts.
The sustainability index also includes reliability criteria. Namely the resistance to wear, shocks and falls of the smartphone, its ease to be maintained and maintained and the level of guarantee offered. The continuous improvement of functionalities or software components is also taken into account to combat planned obsolescence. What should satisfy the UFC Than-To choose who considered the current repairability index insufficient.
According to The Informed and BFM TV, the future index should be in the form of a rating between 1 and 10. Like the nutri-score, it will be associated with a color code. Dark red for bad grades – from 0 to 1.9 – and up to dark green for those equal to or greater than 8. In the case of an online purchase, the note will be present in the presentation sheet of the smartphone. In stores, it will simply be displayed on the shelf, alongside the device.
Extend the service life of equipment
In a white paper published last month, Stop Planned Obsolescence (HOP), welcomes that its recommendations have been taken into account. For the association, the sustainability of products is one of the key levers to reduce the environmental impact of our consumption. This is especially true of electronic and digital equipment with a high carbon footprint.
“The extension of their operating life, and therefore the decrease in their renewal rate, thus appear to be essential”, she estimates. It is also a question of responding to the wishes of consumers,” often frustrated by the short life of the purchased objects “.
Associated with the working groups responsible for the development of this new index, HOP recalls how difficult it is to identify and evaluate this notion of sustainability, given the lack of standards and standardized tests but also the reluctance of manufacturers to provide information on the design of their devices.
“In addition to the obvious interest of the latter to remain relatively vague about production practices, for commercial and competitive reasons, their production chains are often complex and globalized not facilitating the feedback and sharing of information”. Manufacturers can, moreover, exercise influence and lobbying actions, in particular with the public authorities.
The sensitive topic of software updates
Among its recommendations, HOP advises to take into account the resistance of the screen to shocks, the autonomy and endurance of the battery or the longevity of the connectors, All sources of fragility, at the origin of most of the causes of replacements of a smartphone. But the problems are not only material. The association which recently attacked Apple for in particular its locking system, or “lock-in”, which can be triggered during an update, also insists on the importance of software maintenance.
HOP distinguishes between corrective updates, used to correct malfunctions and remedy security vulnerabilities and generally having little impact in terms of reduced performance, and evolutionary updates. The latter, which directly modify the functionality of the devices, are much heavier.
“Separating these two types of updates seems essential to us to guarantee the durability of smartphones. In order to be able to extend the life of his device, the consumer must be able to refuse or expressly accept evolutionary updates, which are not essential for the use of the smartphone. “Finally, I recommend that these updates be reversible and that the manufacturer undertakes to resolve any damage resulting from an update free of charge.