Planned obsolescence? Demand planned longevity!

We question a French approach to stopping product obsolescence and look to Japan for an alternative way that makes buying better products easier.


Public anger across Europe at the mountains of waste electrical products being smashed up for material recycling or for export to Africa has led French regulators to target businesses that plan premature obsolescence into their products. But German researchers previously concluded there is no evidence that such planned obsolescence exists: it’s just that, in a competitive market, customers have the choice to buy good, better and best quality.

Perhaps we need to ask a different question, one that leads to a positive action instead of a negative list; one that is designed to identify not planned obsolescence but its opposite: "How can we identify which products offer planned longevity?" 

The European Remanufacturing Council, run by Oakdene Hollins from its Brussels office, exists to promote this approach to extended-life products. Its member companies could all put forward their own candidates for this ‘positive’ list of products designed for longevity. 

See our article proposing criteria to promote planned longevity.

Talk to David Fitzsimons about the work of the European Remanufacturing Council and...

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Miko Coffey