Circular tech economy

Eco-design and right to repair

Let’s face it: we all love our tech! That’s why, when our phone or favourite appliance breaks, we don’t want to be forced to throw it away and have to spend loads of money on a new one. We want to be able to repair it, replace broken parts, maybe even recycle it into something new. We want a circular economy that creates tons of green jobs. The future is already in the making, and it’s here to stay!

In our highly connected world dominated by smartphones, computers, and electric vehicles, there’s a harsh reality hidden behind the glossy screens: the cobalt powering our rechargeable batteries. Its extraction often exacts a heavy toll on both people and the environment. Because some (huge) companies prioritise profits over the well-being of people and the planet. They exploit workers, waste energy and natural resources, and design products so that they break fast and quickly become obsolete. These companies even make it harder to repair and reuse their tech – on purpose – to get higher profit margins. This abuse has to stop!

We commissioned a study on the environmental impacts of digital technologies. It assesses the impact of our digital tech on the planet. It proposes specific measures to tackle premature obsolescence, reduce digital waste and ensure greater transparency and consumer protection.

We have worked hard to raise awareness about the destructive greed of these companies, which abuse workers, exploit the planet, and rip off consumers. Thousands of people have signed our petition on the right to repair:

We all love our tech and we couldn’t live without it. But as we marvel at the wonders of technology, let’s not forget the people behind the gadgets, who sacrifice their lives for our convenience. We have created a Comic leaflet to explain these issues in a visual way. Please share it if you also want a better economy that is not built on the backs of the oppressed.

cartoon image / repair

Our call to action is a reminder that our quest for progress must be accompanied by accountability and transparency. This is why we’ve been calling for mandatory labelling on products and an end to premature obsolescence.

The Greens/EFA are dedicated to shaping a future where technology’s marvels aren’t tainted by human and environmental exploitation. We want to foster innovation alongside responsibility. This is why we’ve vigorously advocated for Right to Repair legislation (read our open letter here signed by MEPs and hundreds of associations) and ecodesign regulations. In a throwaway culture, these new laws will champion sustainability and social justice. They will heralding a new era where European-made products endure and consumers hold the power to fix, reuse, and recycle.

By championing the right to repair and eco-design, we endorse durability, fair labour practices, and a new economic model. Rejecting exploitation, we cultivate a culture of repairability and sustainable production.

Our campaigning efforts have borne fruit! Both the new laws on right to repair and eco-design set to be implemented by 2026. These laws will create tons of green jobs in the repair, reuse, and recycling sectors, offering a beacon of hope for a brighter future.

The other thing we have worked hard to tackle is “greenwashing” – false claims by companies that their products are sustainable. This has now been banned across the EU so that consumers won’t be lied to any more!

The Greens/EFA Group has been championing the green economy, circularity and green jobs as our vision of the future – a world in which we all win: the planet, the workers and the small business owners. In our “Green Jobs leaflet” we gathered examples and proposals of future-proof work that pays well and protects the planet at the same time.

Together, we can construct a world where sustainability and social responsibility guides every design-decision. It’s a future where products aren’t mere possessions, but symbols of our commitment to a better world: for ourselves, future generations, and the health of our planet.