What's up with fast tech?


Alyson Gessner

Sustainability 101

July 31, 2021

Here at Voiz, we look at every product’s creation as a conveyor belt. Every single time you click “buy” the belt starts moving. The supply chain kicks off with each material being sourced, the ingredients flying around the world, laborers working at every step of the line. SDG 12—Responsible Consumption—requires us to slow down that conveyor belt.

Fast Tech is making that harder. 

One of the biggest issues with fast tech surrounds the concept of planned obsolescence. If something is made unsustainably but can be used for years and years on end, you’re at least reducing consumption of that product, but that’s just not the case with so much of today’s technology. Apple is notorious for deliberately programming their products to only last for one to two years, or for their performance to quickly decline after a certain point. This technique encourages customers to go buy new expensive products because this technology is necessary for work and communication. If your phone stops working after a year, you’re gonna need a new one. 

When you pair planned obsolescence with annual new products, you get an environmental nightmare. When your phone battery can barely hold a charge and Apple’s just released a brand new option with shiny new features, of course you’re going to want a new one. They’re counting on that blind loyalty to the brand and profiting off our technological dependence. While Apple might be the leader of the pack, they are not the only one we need to worry about. Samsung, Google, Huawei, Microsoft and more must also be held accountable.

Advocating for sustainable tech requires a different approach than the average product because there just aren’t that many tech brands. When you’re buying a t-shirt you can choose between companies and support the more sustainable brands, but when you’re buying a new cell phone you need one that has the features and capabilities to meet your everyday needs. So how do we advocate for slow tech? We demand industry level change. We demand that brands like Apple’s new releases are sustainably-sourced. We hold these companies accountable.

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