Earth Matters Everyday.
Longevity of tech products reduces waste. As a Social Purpose Corporation one of the areas we work toward is longevity of product along with right to repair, this allows us to be a largely different global manufacturer of digitally-responsible electronic products. Founder and CEO, Todd Weaver, enshrined in the articles of incorporation two related areas towards this goal “When considering the selection of parts, The Corporation will weigh such issues as privacy, security, freedom, ethical working conditions, environmental impact, and performance, among other factors.“. One of the best ways to reduce waste is to manufacture products that continue to get operating system updates—something Purism does with PureOS on Librem hardware— versus planned obsolescence that Apple, Google, and all other major manufacturers force upon their customers, whereby piling up unusable technology called E-waste.
Tackling E-Waste at its Roots
Major technology companies incentivize users to replace their old devices with a new ones; we see mounting e-waste. The result is that the total weight of e-waste will be the heaviest artificial object on face of the planet Earth. Discarded smart phones alone, contribute to over 10% of this waste. According to the WEEE Forum, 151 million mobile phones are trashed every year, ending up destroyed or in landfills in the US. In his post, Beyond the Right to Repair, Kyle Rankin, President of Purism, reveals how computer manufacturers do not care about what happens to the device after the initial sale is made. “In the name of design (but driven by other incentives), laptop manufacturers not only hide their screws (or require hard-to-find screwdriver bits), they also solder as many components as possible directly on the motherboard.”
Purism’s solution to the e-waste problem is to design and build hardware that has continuous software updates to improve, not hinder, its longevity. By building phones that last, are repairable, and have replaceable parts, we are tackling the issue of e-waste at its root. Furthermore, we empower our customers to replace components as and when they need it. Having replaceable parts by design, our Librem products can swap components if there is a new upgrade, repair needed, or if they just need a new battery. Longer life cycles for electronic devices ultimately means that less carbon is emitted to produce new ones – and ultimately, less e-waste.
When asked about longevity of personal mobile phones, Weaver stated, “The phone that I have owned the longest has been my Librem 5, going on 3 years of daily use, and it has improved in functionality with each new software release; I have every reason to believe this same phone will be my daily driver in 3 more years time.”
Ethical Supply Chains Built with Care
The electronic industry received a wake-up call from the COVID-19 pandemic. It revealed the weakness of a globally-distributed component supply chain. Purism had long been manufacturing in the United States of America (starting with the Librem 5 DevKit in 2019) including managing a domestic and transparent supply chain to produce Librem 5 USA with the highest quality, most secure supply chain on the market.
We have always maintained a digitally-empowered and globally-distributed team. They have continuously provided products and services directly to our customers through a digital-first delivery chain. Longer life cycles of products with fewer links in the supply chain for our electronic devices ultimately means that less carbon is emitted.
Better Business for a Better Planet
Built on the three-pillars of freedom, privacy, and security, Purism is quite the opposite of your typical corporation which serves its shareholders’ interests above all its other duties. Purism is dedicated to build a freer software supply chain. Francois Techene, Creative Director at Purism, explains how being a Social Purpose Corporation means we are able to share our work with the public. “Purism gives back all the intellectual property of its research and development to the people. This is done through the use of public owned licenses, also known as the Free Licenses.” Companies that don’t share their own code or take part in free software often waste developer resources reinventing software that already exists, just so there is a new version they own.
Building this model where, the people are directly financing the research and development has not been easy. In his latest post, Weaver describes the journey to scale a social purpose corporation as a “roller coaster ride”. Thanks to the strength and bond of the wider Purism community as well as the resilience of a local economies we have been able to cross the chasm and pursue a better way of contributing to a planet built on purposeful actions.