Director, Designed to Last Campaign, PIRG
Director, Designed to Last Campaign, PIRG
For immediate release: Thursday, Sept 14, 2023
Victory for students, parents, advocates who called for longer-lasting laptops in schools
NEW YORK — Google announced on Thursday that it would extend the automatic update “expiration date” to 10 years for all Chromebook models released since 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed schools to provide their students with their own devices, often low-cost Chromebooks. Three years later, schools are struggling to replace “expired” laptops that no longer receive either updates or tech support. U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Chromebook Churn report found that doubling the life of Chromebooks sold in just 2020 could cut emissions equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road for a year, and could result in $1.8 billion dollars in savings for schools, assuming no additional maintenance costs. Following that study, a coalition of nonprofits, parents, and teachers wrote a letter to Google calling for longer-lasting laptops.
In response to Google’s announcement, Lucas Rockett Gutterman, director of PIRG’s Designed to Last campaign, made this statement:
“Google’s decision is a victory for the parents, teachers, students and environmentalists who asked to extend the life of Chromebooks in response to our Chromebook Churn report. With a lifespan of 10 years, fewer working laptops will be disposed of because they’ve reached their “death date.” Google and other tech companies should continue to innovate ways to commit to a circular economy and stop pressuring us to replace our phones and laptops. The environmental harms of manufacturing and e-waste mean we can’t consume technology at this rate. Longer-lasting Chromebooks are a meaningful step towards an industry with products designed to last.
There’s still room for improvement on other issues identified in the Chromebook Churn report such as standardizing parts across models and manufacturers, and ensuring the availability of spare parts to all fixers. Continuing improvements in technology means products should last longer each year.”
Green Century Funds °, an environmentally responsible mutual fund family founded and owned by PIRG, also engaged Alphabet and has been working on this issue for about six months.
“This is a major win for the environment, schools, and the shareholder advocacy process,” said Douglass Guernsey, a Shareholder Advocate at Green Century Capital Management. “By extending the life of Chromebooks commonly used in schools, Alphabet is getting ahead of addressing potential risks and making sure hardware using its software can be used for as long as possible.”
Since 2021, Green Century has previously engaged Alphabet on improving repairability of its Pixel phones and disclosing details of the company’s carbon offsets. Both previous engagements resulted in changes from management to address environmental concerns.
Schools have piles of working Chromebooks that have become e-waste because they’ve expired. Photo by Peter Mui, used by permission
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are one of the first families of fossil fuel-free, environmentally responsible mutual funds. Green Century hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is the only mutual fund company in the U.S. wholly owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations.
*As of June 30, 2023, Alphabet comprised 2.25%, 6.86%, and 0.00% of Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund respectively. As of the same date, other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios of any of the Green Century Funds. References to specific securities, which will change due to ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
You should carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. To obtain a Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds please visit www.greencentury.com, email [email protected], or call 1-800-934-7336. Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.
An investment strategy that incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.
Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, country, region or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Foreign securities are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, regional economic and political conditions, differences in accounting methods, and other unique risks compared to investing in securities of U.S. issuers. Bonds are subject to a variety of risks including interest rate, credit, and inflation risk.
This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable. The views expressed are as the date of this writing and are those of the Advisor to the Funds.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 09/2023
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The U.S. PIRG Education Fund (Public Interest Research Group) is a 1 million-member national consumer advocacy organization that stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the public. We solve problems no one should tolerate in our age of abundance and technological innovation.