Planned obsolescence is a real problem that gives us two choices: either we continue to make bad products and harm the environment, or we improve them to make them last longer and look for a more sustainable way to make money.
Of course there is the dealer side:
Imagine this situation for a moment:
If there are a total of 30 people in your town and you manage to sell your product to those 30 people, how would you make more money?
Unfortunately, after the invention of mass production, the big corporations seem to have found the formula for eternal life: planned obsolescence.
On the other hand, there is the buy side:
She’s much more aware of the risks to the planet and thankfully has changed the way she spends money.
But before we continue…
What is planned obsolescence?
Planned obsolescence causes products to break quickly and constantly, leading to the purchase of a new one.
It works like this:
Do you think it’s crazy?
Well, I’m sure you’ve been a victim of it (because it’s inevitable).
Planned obsolescence is incompatible with design and engineering ethics, harms the environment and “forces” people to buy an item for no reason.
Service companies usually make money through various means (advertising, hourly jobs, water supply, electricity, internet, television, etc.) that are consumed on a regular basis, but for a product company the picture was not that far
To me, planned obsolescence is the way to turn their own products into a branded service, into something where they can continue to sell to the same customers.
10 keys to production without planned obsolescence
The first thing you need to know is whether or not your product is obsolete. Therefore, I recommend you to find out the life cycle of your products:
1. Define the life cycle of your products
Planned life cycle is a euphemism to speak more formally about planned obsolescence.
Currently, some companies price a product based on its life cycle. Although the price of the product itself will not bring any benefits, with bulk sales it will.
Companies often plan for the obsolescence of their products in several ways:
- Use of inferior materials.
- Integration of an electronic chip to force failures.
- Design fragile products.
- Sell complementary parts separately (spare parts).
If you want to know a little more, I recommend reading: What are the stages of your product’s life cycle?
Corresponding designsocial.org80% of products and materials become waste within 6 weeks.
I recommend a life cycle analysis or “cradle-to-grave analysis”, which consists of evaluating a product or service at the stages of its existence to determine how much energy it requires and how resources can be optimized.
There are 4 phases of life cycle analysis:
- Definition of goals and scope
- General analysis of the life cycle inventory
- Life cycle environmental impact assessment
- Results analysis
2. Design a sustainable production model
Here’s another image that combines the biological cycle and the technical cycle in one company for you to make the most of energy and resources:
As Serge Latouche, an activist against planned obsolescence, puts it:
3. Design without waste and to reuse them
4. Reshape the way you monetize services
You can read more about this in our article: How to build a modern advertising agency
5. Use strong and durable good quality materials
You increase the price of the product, but you can use durability as your brand differentiator.
6. Use biodegradable materials and renewable sources
7. Form an alliance with recyclers to create an action plan with your products
8. Comply with the environmental and energy laws of the industry in your country
9. Create software based on a language that can be customized with updates, not with the replacement of the software
10. Add value to your products and focus on service
As you can see, the new generation of millennials prefer experiences over ownership. The trend that is coming is to share, pay for what is used and be more environmentally conscious.
You can focus more on creating a mission, a philosophy to make your consumers want to be part of the community, and provide them with events, news, research, and a little creativity.
If you need even more inspiration, you can read our sustainable business ideas:
Some sustainable business ideas:
5 companies not using planned obsolescence
Here are some companies that have already started to use the downside of planned obsolescence to their advantage:
I attach it is a free guide to fix anything you can think of. Contains answers, manuals, photos, examples, etc.
I sleptis an Android app that turns outdated smartphones into baby monitors.
Recompute pioneered the Low Impact Product (LIP) concept. Create computers with ecological products, use a minimalist manufacturing process and recycled cardboard materials.
4th to++LED GENER
A**LED GEENI It is a company with a sustainable business model. They are the creators of Light & Life, LED lamps that adapt to the environment and have no planned obsolescence.
5. ATP lighting
ATP lighting e is a Spanish company that manufactures public lighting that is corrosion resistant, safe from electric shock and vandalism with a 10 year guarantee.
But if you change your philosophy, your raw materials and your processes, you will not get the certificate of a sustainable product. In every country there are private, public and non-profit organizations that certify “green” companies.
In Spain there is an ISSOP certificate promoted by the FENISS Foundation.
What is the ISSOP seal?
It was funded by the Spanish FENISS Foundation (Foundation for sustainable energy and innovation without planned obsolescence) and what it means: Sustainable Innovation Without Planned Obsolescence (ISSOP).
It is a seal that certifies sustainable products free of planned obsolescence in its products and deals responsibly with the environment.
How do I get the ISOPP seal?
You must be a company that makes products…
- Buy products and use reputable services with the environment.
- Manufacture products without planned obsolescence.
- Reduce toxic emissions.
- Manage waste properly.
- Respect the responsibility for the environment.
- Facilitating access to environmental and integration training.
- Do not use misleading advertising.
- promote equality.
- Facilitate the compatibility of work, family and private life.
- promoting and disseminating a more sustainable and responsible economic model; and also to include necessary clauses in the contracts.
Interesting links for sustainable companies
Now, if you want to learn a little more about the history, implications, and alternatives to planned obsolescence, I recommend watching this video:
Documentary: “Buy, Throw, Buy”, by Cosima Dannortizer
And another video from In A Nutshell about “fracking”, an inferior technique for extracting oil and gas:
I hope this article has helped you be a part of the sustainable businesses of the moment. If you would like to receive more information, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter. If you want to share your experiences, you can leave them in the comments below.
Until next time 😉