Many consumer products could have a longer service-life. However, particularly in the IT and household appliance sectors, some components seem to be designed to become obsolete so that the product becomes unusable after a certain period of time or rely on the use of specific consumable items. This has a number of damaging consequences: the cost to consumers of early replacement of the product or dependence to expensive consumable items, the overuse of natural resources and raw materials.
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The EESC organized a public hearing on collaborative or participative consumption on 25 September 2013. The aim of this hearing was to gather stakeholders active in the field of collaborative or participative consumption and enable them to present their observations, concerns and expectations related to this phenomenon. Those contributions will feed the EESC's opinion on this topic which is currently under preparation.
The functional economy focuses on the use of a product rather than its ownership. Specifically, with the functional economy model, a company sells the right to use a product of which it maintains ownership. The famous example is Michelin, which no longer sells tires for fleets of company cars, but supplies "mobility services" consisting of repairing, retreading and in some cases exchanging tires. The economic outcome is that the company has an interest in making its products last as long as possible because the price is based on usage (in this case, the number of kilometres driven) and thus in reducing waste.
This study is based on a simulated shopping tool combined with an on-line questionnaire. 2 917 people took part across four European regions: France, Spain, the Czech Republic and the Benelux countries. The results clearly demonstrate that displaying the lifespan of the products for sale led consumers to change their behaviour when making their purchases. This effect was evident regardless of how the lifespan was displayed.
IN THIS ISSUE: President Dassis’ statement concerning the terrorist attacks in Brussels; Interview to Gonçalo Lobo Xavier on the migration project; Members back from migration missions share their experience; New EESC study on planned obsolescence; Your Europe, Your Say! 2016; Giles Duley photograph exhibition
The study analyses the collaborative consumption and planned obsolescence in the context of circular economy, shared and the common good. The analysis is done from a holistic view of the interactions and interdependencies in the various economic, environmental and social spheres.
The Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) has recently launched a project dedicated to the phenomenon of built-in or planned obsolescence. This project, as its name suggests, is not a one-off action. So it is not merely a usual EESC opinion, nor just a conference devoted to the subject, but rather a series of events, opinions, declarations, articles, follow-up activities, to make sure that the issue of planned obsolescence makes its way to the political agendas of the European Commission and the European Parliament.