Microsoft Commits to Right-to-Repair Focus

Following pressure from its shareholders, Microsoft is making it easier to get access to spare parts and repair documents for their products.

Published: October 11, 2021 2:02 PM /


The Microsoft logo

Microsoft is making its computers and other devices easier for customers to fix. Following pressure from its shareholders, the company will be making it easier for customers to gain access to spare parts and repair documents.

As reported by Grist, this change is part of an agreement reached between Microsoft and the investor advocacy nonprofit As You Sow that was part of a shareholder resolution As You Sow filed in June. In this resolution, As You Sow asked Microsoft to consider and analyze the "environmental and social benefits" of making it easier for customers to repair their own devices. After months of talks, Microsoft has agreed to not only study how helping its customers get the parts and information they need to do their own repairs can reduce contributions to climate change and electronic waste, but it's also going to act on the study's finding by the end of the year. This marks the first time a U.S. manufacture has agreed to change its repair policies due to investor pressure.

The Xbox One, one of Microsoft's main pieces of hardware.

This resolution marks a big win for the right-to-repair people, and this is a fight that's linked to corporate environmental responsibility. If customers can't fix their devices quickly and cheaply, whether due to a lack of parts or of knowledge, they're more likely to buy a replacement, and the vast majority of the carbon emissions associated with devices occur when they're manufactured. In the case of Apple's new iPhone 13, 81% of the emissions are created during manufacturing. Providing replacement parts and the information to replace said parts helps reduce pollution, natural resource usage, land degradation from extracting and refining raw materials, and toxic e-waste.

As You Sow has won battles for greater corporate transparency in the past, such as convincing Duke Energy to disclose its natural gas infrastructure's methane emissions and getting Twitter to reveal its carbon footprint.

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| Former Staff Writer

I am a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a major in writing and a minor in gaming. I have a passion for video games and writing. I also… More about Brian