(Photo : Stephen Lam/GettlyImages ) SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 29: A Microsoft logo is seen during the 2015 Microsoft Build Conference on April 29, 2015 at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. Thousands are expected to attend the annual developer conference which runs through May 1.

Microsoft shareholders have filed a resolution demanding the operating system company to consider building products that are easier to repair.

A non-profit that specializes in shareholder advocacy, As You Sow, delivered the resolution on June 24.

Microsoft Shareholders Seek Easy to Fix Products

According to As You Sow, Microsoft's shareholders issued the right-to-repair because electronics that are discarded have been proven to destroy the environment, and Microsoft has promised to help fix the issue.

The shareholders' resolution stated that Microsoft has pledged to take action to reduce climate emissions, yet the company still actively restricts consumer access to device reparability.

The shareholders said that Microsoft's refusal to build products that are easy to fix undermines their sustainability commitments because it fails to recognize the fundamental principle of electronics sustainability: its longevity determines device environmental impact.

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In a blog post posted in 2020, Microsoft said that it would invest in climate innovation and eliminate the use of single plastics. However, Microsoft did not post any follow-up to that statement, according to Vice. 

Kelly McBee, a waste program coordinator for As You Sow, said in a press release that Microsoft positions itself as a leader in climate change but still facilitates premature landfilling of its products by preventing consumers from accessing device reparability.

McBee added that to take genuine action on sustainability and ease pressure on the extraction of limited resources, including metals, Microsoft must extend the useful life of its devices by facilitating widespread access to repair.

Microsoft's Carbon Emission Promise

In 2020, Microsoft announced that it aims to be a carbon-neutral company by 2030. McBee pointed out that in order to reach that goal, the company would have to manufacture its devices to be more easily repaired to prolong its life, as reported by ChannelNews.

McBee said that for Microsoft to pursue its commitment to be carbon negative by 2030 authentically, it must make it easier for consumers to repair their device than to purchase a new one.

An important first step for Microsoft will be to consider the public provision of additional parts, repair tools, and instructions, as the resolution outlined.

The resolution is now demanding that the Shareholders' Board prepare a report on the environmental and social benefits of making Microsoft devices more easily repairable by consumers and independent repair shops.

The shareholders want this report to assess all of the benefits and the downsides of making product instructions, parts, and tools for Microsoft products more readily available.

The resolution came right after the national right-to-repair legislation was filed in the U.S House and after a similar law was cleared in the New York State Senate.

More than half the states in the country are now considering writing a law that would make it easier for consumers to fix their own devices. If the movement continues, tech companies will have to change the way that they do business. The resolution filed by the shareholders is a step in the right direction.

Microsoft has not released any statement regarding the issue.

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Written by Sophie Webster

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