Microsoft has just taken a big step towards giving its users the “right to repair” in response to pressure from groups concerned about the environmental toll of the tech industry’s currently restrictive repair policies. While there are still some steps to be taken, it may end up being the first big tech company to endorse the right to repair, VGC reports, based on information published by Grist.
Momentum on the issue came from investor advocacy non-profit As You Sow, which filed a shareholder resolution with the company urging it to consider the “environmental and social benefits” of removing barriers to device repair. Grist reports the non-profit turned to the shareholder resolution–a tool that has increasingly been used to put pressure on companies over climate change–after an earlier “good faith conversation” with Microsoft on the issue of repair went nowhere.
Now, As You Sow has withdrawn its resolution after Microsoft agreed to look into the possibility of opening up device repair. The company will hire an independent consultant to study whether giving consumers access to parts and documentation for repair will reap any environmental and social benefits, and will proceed to do so if the study shows it will.
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Author: Hayley Williams