Back in October 2021, Microsoft made a commitment to make Surface devices more repairable. As part of the Right to Repair initiative, the company has released tools with iFixit to help self-repair and will allow third-party locations to fix hardware. Furthermore, the company made a commitment to an independent study to assess the environmental impact of Right to Repair.

Well, that independent study is now complete, and Microsoft is publishing the details.

Microsoft Surface devices are beautiful and ergonomic, but they are amongst the worst devices to repair. You can write off any kind of at-home repair and Surface has consistently scored the lowest fixability scores with iFixit.

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Last year, the company’s shareholders took action to force a Right to Repair initiative that would include an independent study. The original resolution was filed by As You Sow on behalf of Microsoft shareholders.

The independent study was carried out by Oakdene Hollins without Microsoft inclusion. Now it is complete, the 11-page paper is available to read, highlighting the environmental and social impact of the Right to Repair initiative.

Findings

As you might expect, the study found there was a positive on the environment when repairing a device compared to replacing it. Specifically, every form of repair will provide drastic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste reductions compared to replacement programs.

In an accompanying press release, As You Sow points to the other key findings in the report:

  • “For the seven devices studied, the study showed that repairing the product instead of device replacement can yield up to a 92% reduction in potential waste generation and GHG emissions.
  • Greater than 20% of the net sustainability benefits of repair are determined by the transportation method and logistics for delivering devices to repair facilities; and
  • “Mail-to” repair services offer the lowest GHG emissions, even over long distances, compared to other transportation methods, such as consumers driving their own vehicles to repair facilities.”

As You Sow says Microsoft has made a commitment to implement the findings across the Surface division. The group points out this is a meaningful change from Microsoft, which was resistant to the Right to Repair idea just a year ago.

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