为什么法国的新技术“维修性指数”如此重要

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现,至少法国,公司将不得不开始对此进行清理。法国销售这些设备的制造商必须根据一系列标准为其产品打出分数或“可维修性指数”,包括将产品拆开的容易程度以及备件和技术文档的可用性。法国政府估计,到2020年,该国只有40%的损坏电子设备得到了维修。

为了提高这一比例,法国去年通过了一项反垃圾法案,要求电子制造商其产品上标注可维修性指数。Vallauri和Wiens都强调了法国维修分数对强制性地改变产品制造方式的重要性。

这个故事最初出现Grist上,并且是Climate Desk合作的一部分。

我们的电子设备给环境造成了严重损失,减轻这种状况的最佳方法之一是更换它们之前应尽可能长时间地使用它们。但是,如果您不确定修复的简单程度,很难知道一个新小工具将持续多久。现,至少法国,公司将不得不开始对此进行清理。

法国上个月采取了全球首创的举措,开始要求某些电子设备(包括智能手机和笔记本电脑)的制造商告诉消费者其产品的可维修性。法国销售这些设备的制造商必须根据一系列标准为其产品打出分数或“可维修性指数”,包括将产品拆开的容易程度以及备件和技术文档的可用性。尽管法国要到明年才强制使用该指数,但有些公司已经开始发布其产品的分数。

可维修性指数是法国为防止计划中的过时而做出的努力的一部分,这是有意制造寿命有限的产品,需要经常更换的,并过渡到了循环经济,从而最大限度地减少了废物。但这也具有全球意义。维修倡导者说,该指数将成为衡量类似规定的其他国家的试金石,帮助消费者做出更好的选择,并希望激励公司制造更多可维修的设备。

“这是朝正确方向迈出的一大步,”位于伦敦的维修倡导组织和欧洲维修权利运动成员Restart Project的共同创始人乌戈·瓦拉里(Ugo Vallauri)说。

近年来,由于各种设计选择和软件锁定的结合,各种形状和尺寸的电子产品变得更加难以固定,而这些锁定通常需要专有的制造商工具才能通过。维修的成本和复杂性意味着许多消费者甚至不尝试修理旧的电子产品,而是将其丢弃以换取新的电子产品,而新的电子产品会消耗更多的能源和资源。法国政府估计,到2020年,该国只有40%的损坏电子设备得到了维修。

为了提高这一比例,法国去年通过了一项反垃圾法案,要求电子制造商其产品上标注可维修性指数。该指数最初适用于智能手机,笔记本电脑,电视,洗衣机和割草机,得分为10分,数字越高表示设备越容易维修。

制造商使用集成了五个标准的工作表对产品进行评分:有助于维修的技术文档的可用性,易于拆卸,备件的可用性,备件的价格以及针对该类产品的特定维修问题的通配符类别。购买时,还必须将所有用于计算指数的信息提供给消费者。

最终,法国打算将分数扩大到其他类别的消费产品。到2024年,维修指标将转变为“耐用性指标”,不仅可以告诉客户产品的可维修性,还可以描述产品的整体耐用性。

Vallauri表示,虽然可维修性指标于1月1日成为官方要求,但许多制造商正缓慢实施该指标。瓦拉里说:“实际上没有足够的时间2021年初实施它。”他解释说,一些评分标准直到去年年底才被商定。

但是,一小撮分数开始出现。法国备件企业Spareka从制造商那里获得维修性指数时,会发布该指数,到目前为止,其网站上包含Asko洗衣机,三星电视,OnePlus智能手机等的得分。

计分系统有其局限性。 Vallauri解释说,这些索引是通过密集的利益相关者流程开发的,其中涉及制造商和消费者权益组织的投入。最终,这导致了一些妥协。例如,正如法国维修倡导组织“停止计划过时”的AdèleChasson博客文章中指出的那样,便携式计算机和智能手机制造商可以通过向消费者提供有关不同类型的软件更新信息(例如安全更新或系统)来获得“自由点”。升级-信息可能与设备的可修复性无关。

也许更令人担忧的是,制造商将自我报告分数,目前尚不清楚政府是否将进行严格的监督以确保数学正确完成。

维修站点iFixit的首席执行官Kyle Wiens说:“当然,过去我们看到制造商滥用了这种评分系统。” (实际上,法国的指数是从iFixit多年来一直为产品分配的可维修性评分中得到启发的。)但是维恩斯还怀疑竞争会有助于遏制绿色污染:例如,如果苹果的竞争对手推出了三星的产品,它可能会击败三星。旗舰智能手机的可修复性指数高得令人怀疑。

维恩斯说:“每当您遇到这样的事情时,您都会看到竞争对手互相推pushing。”

整个欧洲的维修倡导者都密切关注法国指数的推出,希望它很快就会传播到法国边界以外。 11月,欧洲议会投票通过了制定强制性全欧盟可维修性标签的法律。瓦拉里说,欧盟距离每个成员国每家商店出现的可维修性评分仍“可能还差几年”,但该立法草案有望于今年出台。他说,法国选择以自己的得分排第一位,这一事实“表明这是可能的”,并且“对其他现可以借鉴法国立法者创造的国家来说,是一个很好的学习机会。”

维修界同样有兴趣了解法国的评分系统如何影响消费者和制造商。

9月,法国政府发表了一项研究结果,研究了14万线购物者对可维修性指数的beta版本的反应,该版本包括除备件价格外的所有最终标准。研究发现,与缺乏维修指标的笔记本电脑相比,客户倾向于避免购买具有维修指标的笔记本电脑。法国政府的行为科学研究员,项目经理Laurianne Vagharchakian将其归因于以下事实:该研究的平均可维修性得分(满分10分中的5.4分)可能对潜的买家“没有很大的动力和吸引力”。其他研究表明,与竞争性,寿命较短的产品相比,消费者更喜欢带有标签的产品具有更长的使用寿命,并且某些情况下,他们可能愿意为耐用的产品支付更高的价格。

如果这些研究结果表明维修分数开始影响整个法国的消费者行为,那么制造商可能会感到压力,希望使设备易于维修。 Vallauri和Wiens都强调了法国维修分数对强制性地改变产品制造方式的重要性。


英文译文:

This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Our electronic devices take a serious environmental toll, and one of the best ways to mitigate that is to use them for as long as possible before replacing them. But it’s hard to know how long a new gadget will last if you’re unsure how easy it will be to fix. Now, companies are going to have to start coming clean about that—in France, at least.

In a world-first move last month, France began requiring makers of certain electronic devices, including smartphones and laptops, to tell consumers how repairable their products are. Manufacturers selling these devices in France must give their products a score, or “repairability index,” based on a range of criteria, including how easy it is to take the product apart and the availability of spare parts and technical documents. While France won’t be enforcing use of the index with fines until next year, some companies have already begun releasing scores for their products.

The repairability index represents part of France’s effort to combat planned obsolescence, the intentional creation of products with a finite life-span that need to be replaced frequently, and transition to a more circular economy where waste is minimized. But it also has global implications. Repair advocates say that the index will serve as a litmus test for other nations weighing similar regulations, help consumers make better choices, and hopefully incentivize companies to manufacture more repairable devices.

“It’s a big step in the right direction,” said Ugo Vallauri, the cofounder of Restart Project, a London-based repair advocacy organization and member of the European Right to Repair Campaign.

In recent years, electronics of all shapes and sizes have become more difficult to fix due to a combination of design choices and software locks that often require proprietary manufacturer tools to get past. The cost and complexity of repair means that many consumers don’t even try to fix old electronics, instead discarding them for new ones that take additional energy and resources to produce. In 2020, the French government estimates that only 40 percent of broken electronic devices in the country were repaired.

To boost that percentage, France passed an anti-waste bill last year mandating that electronics manufacturers make a repairability index visible on their products. The index, which initially applies to smartphones, laptops, TVs, washing machines, and lawnmowers, is presented as a score out of 10, with a higher number indicating a more repairable device.

Manufacturers grade their products using worksheets that integrate five criteria: availability of technical documents to aid in repair, ease of disassembly, availability of spare parts, price of spare parts, and a wild-card category for repair issues specific to that class of products. All of the information that went into calculating the index must also be made available to consumers at the time of purchase.

Eventually, France intends to expand the score to other classes of consumer products. By 2024 the repair index will transition to a “durability index” that not only tells customers how repairable a product is but also describes its overall robustness.

While the repairability index became an official requirement on January 1, many manufacturers are slow-walking its implementation, according to Vallauri. “There wasn’t really enough time to enforce it in early 2021,” Vallauri said, explaining that some of the scoring criteria were only agreed on toward the end of last year.

But a trickle of scores are starting to emerge. The French spare parts business Spareka is publishing repairability indices as it receives them from manufacturers, and so far, its website includes scores for Asko washing machines, Samsung TVs, OnePlus smartphones, and more.

The scoring system has its limitations. Vallauri explained that the indexes were developed through an intensive stakeholder process that involved input from manufacturers as well as consumer advocacy organizations. Ultimately, this led to some compromises. For instance, as Adèle Chasson of the French repair advocacy organization Stop Planned Obsolescence noted in a blog post, laptop and smartphone makers can get a “free point” by providing consumers with information about different types of software updates, such as security updates or system upgrades—information that may not have anything to do with how fixable the device is.

Perhaps more concerningly, manufacturers are going to be self-reporting their scores, and it is unclear whether there will be rigorous governmental oversight to ensure the math is being done correctly.

“Certainly we have seen manufacturers abuse this kind of scoring system in the past,” said Kyle Wiens, CEO of the repair site iFixit, which helped advise the French government on the development of the index. (In fact, France’s index took inspiration from the repairability scores iFixit has been assigning products for years.) But Wiens also suspects that competition will help keep greenwashing in check: Apple, for instance, could call out Samsung if its competitor comes out with a dubiously high repairability index for a flagship smartphone.

“Any time you have something like this, you’ll see competitors pushing back on each other,” Wiens said.

Repair advocates across Europe are watching the rollout of the French index closely in the hope that it will soon be spread beyond France’s borders. In November, the European Parliament voted in favor of developing laws that mandate EU-wide repairability labeling. Vallauri said that the EU is still “probably a few years away” from repairability scores appearing at every shop in every member country, but that draft legislation is expected to emerge this year. The fact that France chose to go first with its own score, he said, “shows that it’s possible” and represents “a good learning opportunity for other countries that can now build on what the French lawmakers created.”

The repair community is equally interested in seeing how the French scoring system impacts both consumers and manufacturers.

In September, the French government published the results of a study that looked at how 140,000 online shoppers responded to a beta version of the repairability index that included all of the final criteria except for the price of spare parts. It found that customers tended to avoid purchasing laptops with a repair index compared with laptops lacking one. Project manager Laurianne Vagharchakian, a behavioral sciences researcher with the French government, attributes this to the fact that the study’s average repairability score, at 5.4 out of 10, was probably “not very motivating and attractive” to potential buyers. Other research suggests that consumers prefer products with labels indicating a longer life-span over competing, shorter-lived products, and that in some cases, they may be willing to pay much more for the more durable product.

If repair scores start influencing consumer behavior across France as these findings suggest they will, manufacturers are likely to feel pressure to make devices easier to fix. Both Vallauri and Wiens highlighted the importance of the French repair scores being mandatory for potentially forcing a sea change in how products are made.


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