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I had my computer fixed this week and in talking to the technician as he worked, discovered that the once easy upgrades to RAM or the replacement of hard drives are unlikely to be possible in future because the parts which used to be easy to remove and replace are now soldered in. I had loved this brand because I had felt that in producing computers which could seemingly go on forever, the company was bucking the trend of producing cheap, throwaway products that end up polluting our environment - and instead marketing something far more sustainable.
We went on to discuss the damage our heavy consumption of new goods is doing to our planet and both felt that these days, if we have the technology to lengthen a product's life, then we should be using it. After all, it's the only responsible thing to do, isn't it?
I don't normally mention individual companies in my Leaders but I have to make an exception this week, having been inspired by the presentation by Arcelik's CEO Hakan Bulgurlu, at this week's IFA exhibition in Berlin. The company has produced a washing machine with a built-in microplastics filter, which will prevent some 90% of the microplastics that normally leech out in the wash, from entering our water systems. What inspired me so much was not the technology itself (which was certainly impressive), but the fact that the company is offering to share it with its competition, for the good of the planet.
"Today sustainability is a way of life; it is a business model," he said. "As responsible leaders in businesses, we have to change our act."
Speaking of the technology, he said: "This is one of the most important innovations to come out of Arcelik. We are prepared to share this technology with anyone interested in using it. I invite and challenge our competition to use this innovation in any way they wish. We need to act. Change begins today, right here."
Is this the sort of gesture that could be extended to the competition by an enlightened manufacturer of cleaning equipment, who might have come up with something special, I wonder? Just imagine the press coverage that would result... Not to mention the positive impact the sharing of great ideas can have on the planet.
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12th September 2019