A recent report by First Insight and the Wharton School found that 75% of Gen Z participants would opt for sustainable goods over brand-name goods. Their concern for sustainability is influencing other generations as well.
The consumer technology industry has been slower than other sectors to get greener products in the hands of customers. The reasons behind this slow progression are numerous, layered, and complicated, but the business case for green technology is finally improving.
“If you look to other industries, you actually see more sustainable behavior, and a bit more transparency,” says Eva Gouwens, CEO of Amsterdam-based Fairphone, a small sustainable-smartphone manufacturer. “The electronics industry has been a bit of a laggard.”
For years, consumer tech companies have been resistant to adopting greener practices because they were costly. But they alone are not to blame: Consumers have traditionally wanted only the latest and greatest gadgets regardless of the impact on the environment, and government regulations regarding repairability and recyclability have been minimal.
As each of these factors changes, consumer technology is beginning to shift. Katie Green, a sustainability experience planner for the client product group at Dell, equates the slow evolution of sustainable consumer electronics to a human life cycle.