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IGF 2020 – Day 10 – WS339 The circular economy of ICT

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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     >> This is your IGF host.  Please be informed that this session is recorded and hosted under the IGF Code of Conduct and UN Rules and Regulations.  Please kindly respect that.  Please be also aware that the chat feature is for social chat only, and the Q&A should be used to ask questions.  Have a very successful session.  Thank you very much.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you.  I think we can wait a couple of minutes more because not everyone has joined.

     >> MODERATOR: Wiktor, I see Shawna Finnegan who is also an organizer among the attendees.  Can you promote her.

     >> Upgraded already.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: I suppose we should start now.  I see a couple of participants are not yet there, but I hope it is like Alexandra Lutz and Yunusa Ya'u that are not connected yet, but I suppose if they appear you will be able to upgrade them to the full participant.

     >> Yes, I will watch and once I see them, I will upgrade them immediately.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you so much.  Welcome to the Workshop 339 The Circular Economy of ICT.  The workshop is organized by Shawna, who is also connected.  But in the inconvenient time. 

     I'm an activist from IPC and also an academic from the Technical University of Catalonia.  I will introduce a little bit and then explain the structure of the discussion or the session.

     So, first of all, when we talk about ICT, we talk about things which have electrical power supply and many electronic components made with scarce materials and in exchange of electricity they deal with digital data and the process of data and storage of data.

     And the problem is huge.  The -- yeah, of course -- Andriette says, and we did it in other meetings, perhaps you can as the host perhaps upgrade everyone as attendees because I think it is more friendly to be in the same space and allow everyone to participate without any barrier.  Thank you for the suggestion. 

     So I know this has more hiccup when people get promoted, so let's wait until people join the room in equal terms.

     The computer-based systems tend to be cruel sometimes.  I mean in a normal meeting, you will not be happy to see some people behind the glass and the rest sitting in the meeting room.  And access rights makes things easier, or difficult, or they create a boundary that is not natural.

     Thank you for promoting everyone.  So, well, I was saying that the problem is huge.  Even though we are now 33 or so panelists, perhaps around us there are more than two or three times more devices than people in this meeting room.  And the same happens globally is that there are many more ICT devices than people by far on earth.

     And many more are being manufactured as we speak.  Some at least they work, but some no longer work but and they are still devices.  Some others are simply piles of huge hills of waste in landfills.  And that is happening and growing as we speak.

     Devices have very limited life span for the cost they require to be produced.  And the typical model is that devices are made, used, disposed, and that is what we call the linear model and devices can either be something useful, a useful resource, or waste.

     And then we could define briefly the circular economy or circularity as the goal to keep resources in use as long as possible. And then recover and regenerate devices so that we minimize, or we remove completely the waste, the concept of waste.

     So ICT devices are both part of the environmental problem, they consume energy, and they consume materials, they produce waste; but can be also part of a solution.  I mean digital can help produce other impacts but, of course, we have to find the right balance, let's say. 

     You know that, well, every time there are new models of devices being announced and consumers get excited, devices get abandoned because there is a new device and landfills also grow and grow.

     So we can do much better.  And not only much better because we think ethically that is correct, but also because the environment we are living beyond the limits of our environmental boundaries.  And then the more and more we experience effects of this environmental degradation. 

     So the idea of this meeting is to share different experiences, circular economy is partly unknown, and we want to raise understanding.  And we have several speakers, three to five, depending if one shows up, and the session was to organize the session the time left in three blocks.  One, to introduce some ideas from each of the speakers about five minutes per person.

     So we can spend one-third of the time-sharing views.  And then we can spend some of the time in questions and answers about the topics we introduce or other aspects that the audience can bring about. 

     And third, it is nice to share ideas, but I think it is also important to discuss what commitments, what actions we can do together or individually.  And collect some key ideas for the future.  Basically among three aspects. 

     One is what can be, let's say, what experiences can be replicated, what ways we can continue the discussion in a kind of multi-stakeholder forum for the governors of the economy in case we find it necessary; and what measures like policies, regulation mechanisms, incentives that can help improving to a circular or more sustainable economy of ICT devices. 

     So for that, I shared before and I also share again there is kind of simple like board where you can leave us with speak, you can share there.

     Key ideas you find worth highlighting.  You can also leave questions and later on you will be able to leave also some suggestions for future actions. 

     You can add in this link, you can add posit notes and also like highlight those who are interesting for you so we can also prioritize and discuss those who have more interests from the participants.

     So without any more ado, I pass the floor to Rozi who will give us her perspective.  Rozi, welcome.

     >> ROZI BAKO: Thank you, Leandro.

     Hello, everyone.  Among activists, I'm Rozi Bako.  And among academics, I'm Rozalia Bako. I'm a sociologist by profession, and my research interest is repair practices in the local community where I live and where I work. 

     Today is Black Friday in Romania.  I'm from Romania.  For me, it will be a Green Friday because I won't buy anything.  I think I have enough things and objects and devices and services.

     My focus today will be the repairability of devices and its context from the perspective of sustainable use of ICTs and I will be looking at regional opportunities and some local actions there that can be taken.

     And this is an occasion for me to give a glimpse of the forthcoming Romania report of the Global Information Society Watch organized and curated by the Association for Progressive Communications in which I'm a reporter for Romania since 2007.

     And also as part of the Circular Economy Action Group within the Association for Progressive Communications. 

     We are in the process of developing a guide on circular economy, and I developed a short case story from Romania, a good example on how the circular economy can be done with local and regional participation of multiple stakeholders.

     While communication -- the increasing environmental input is a reason for concern. The European Green Deal has set an ambitious goal for the European Union countries to be climate neutral in 2050 with no net emissions of greenhouse gases and the economic growth recovered from resource use. 

     For such a radical shift to happen, encouraging innovation and environmentally friendly solution in the energy sector, in housing, transport industry, should be on the policy makers agenda.

     As part of the European Green Deal, a new circular economy action plan was developed including a sustainable product policy framework.  And a special chapter of the document is dedicated to ICTs. 

     Implementing the forthcoming eco-design directive on energy efficiency, durability, repairability, upgradeability maintenance, the use and recycling, as well as prioritizing the right to repair for ICTs including the right to upgrade obsolete software, very important element when it comes to prolong the life of our devices.

     The European Commission is working on a circular electronics initiative to promote longer product lifetimes, as I said, including measures for energy efficiency, durability, repairability, universal chargers, better cables.  And improving the collection and treatment of electronic waste since it is the fastest growing waste stream in the European Union with an annual growth rate of 2%.

     Repairing things, including ICT, seems to be part of our daily practices.  It is not of the routines and the research that we are implementing locally shows the same. 

     It is not something ground-breaking to fix things.  It is just that there are several obstacles when it comes to repairing electronics and experts have identified three levels of barriers when it comes to implementing repair and repairability.  The first level is the legal and bureaucratic obstacles preventing accessible repair. 

     The second level is related to the price of repair compared to buying a new product.  And the third level is the consumer preferences not favoring repair, which is related to a growing consumer attitude among some categories of population and conspicuous consumption practices. 

     In order to enable the right to repair, experts recommend a step-by-step approach to policy makers in order to create an open repair environment.  The first step should be to eliminate the barriers on level one, the legal and bureaucratic obstacles preventing accessible repair.  And EU -- the EU action plans are within this framework.  So the regulatory framework should be an enabler of an open repair environment.

     What is the difference in terms of open and closed repair?  In open repair, consumers have a choice on who will conduct the repair.  In closed repair systems, they restrict consumers to repair shops provided by the manufacturer. 

     And currently we are in a system of closed repair.  In order to open the repair market advocated by independent repair shops and consumers, it is necessary to grant access to spare parts and schematics of ICTs.  And it is important to note that a closed repair environment shortens the lifespan of products due to the restricted access to authorized repair services and their high prices, encouraging consumers to rather buy a new smartphone, tablet, or laptop rather than repairing the old one.

     Of course, those who cannot afford, it is also a matter of affordability.  Those who cannot afford to buy a new one will try everything to prolong their device's lifespan not because they are so environmentally concerned but because they don't have the resources to buy a new one. 

     And there is another important element that authorized repair shops often mislead customers, telling them the device is either not repairing or they offer repair services but at the very high price which discourages consumer to repair their devices.

     In my case study developed for the circular economy, I presented a short positive example from Romania, I will just refer to it as a teaser, on educational campaign developed by a waste management company from Romania called Ecotique.  It's called Enter the Circular Solidarity. 

     It is a good example on how multiple stakeholders can work together in order to come with sustainable solution.  During the lockdown, only about the 60% of the children had full access to an electronic devices and electronic learning environment so something needed to be done so this organization in partnership with a Workshop Without Border, a social enterprise where people with disabilities are fixing electronic devices, they collected discarded computers and laptops from the companies and repaired it and then distributed it to those schools and NGOs in need of learning, digital learning tools.

     So that is for now.  My interest and commitment here is to learn more from participants and my fellow panelists on how digital literacy and environmental literacy can be weaved together.  For years I was doing it on separate tracks.  I work as an activist in an environmental organization since '94, 1994.

     But also started to volunteer in digital literacy programs.  And I think it is important to make environmental literacy part of the digital literacy agenda.  Thank you for your attention.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Rozi.  And now I pass the floor to Mireia.  Mireia, you can introduce yourself and speak. I don't know if you have slides you want to share, or I can share.

     >> MIREIA ROURA: Yes, I have some slides.  I was wondering if you were going to do it or if I have to do it.  I can pass if you want.  Hello, everybody.  Thank you, Leandro. 

     I'm Mireia from eReuse, Barcelona.  I am the same team with Leandro and with David Francesca who is joining this workshop as well. 

     First of all, I want to start my presentation with a point of reflection.  So can we say that our way of consuming as if it were what the philosopher can call an imperative, it's a form of banality of evil, it's a concept.

     According to the Waste Monitor Agency, it might be because we are following the dogma of consumption without thinking if this is good or bad.

     The consequence is that last year we dumped or burned more than $57 billion in materials, the extraction of which had generated suffering and destruction. 

     So we at eReuse believe that it is urgent to raise awareness of this problem.  The citizen has become just a consumer more than ever, and especially in technology.

     So what can we do?  The materials used in technology are valuable but have a detrimental effect on vulnerable communities with rights not enough represented.  And additionally, single-use consumerism has an enormously negative impact on our planet.

     In eReuse, we focus our models based on commons governance with shared partnership as a key structure to help reduce this negative impact.  So as you see in the screen, our model creates local ecosystems with many stakeholders with different roles that intercooperate to capture, remanufacture, and recirculate electronic devices for, among others, fight against digital inequality.  And we do it all under a commons governance. 

     This means that the management of the thousands of devices that we receive each year is managed with as a common pool with agreed rules, compensations and limits and sanctions.

     In this ecosystem, there must be an entity which acts as a referee.  With reference to Elio Rostrum Nobel Prize, the common good to be preserved is the use value of the devices.  So under a commons ownership of the devices the end user is not the owner of the device.  He's just receiving a service by using it. 

     So when this end user wants to get rid of his computer, he has to ask the circuit before.  And if this circuit considers that it cannot be recirculated again, then and only then it's recycled.  So can we pass to slide two, please, Leandro.  Okay.

     So we have a very good relationship with Barcelona City Council.  And we began by accepting thousands of computers from this public administration.  But soon we discovered that the public sector use of devices was much greater than the private sector.  So, therefore, one key lesson is to not become the landfill for the public sector devices because the use value is much lower than the private sector. 

     To have a sustainable ecosystem, we need to prioritize the devices from the private sector as an input but focus on both the private and public sector for the output.

     This focus helps to reinforce the public sector awareness of sustainability, and this can lead to more active green policies by the public sector such as green procurement policies.

     Okay.  Next slide, please.  Running an ecosystem can be hard.  Tools, protocols, technology are all needed.  So we have developed an open source support software to manage registration, inventory and traceability of the reuse pool of devices managed by the circuits.

     So through the different refurbishment entities and through this open source software, we call up details about the secondhand computers and their components to analyze their full life cycle until final recycling.  So we can calculate the environmental impact in addition to the reuse hours as well as the social impact.  Okay.  Next. 

     The chain of value or a circular economy model is greater than the classic charity because it delivers value through the creation of environmental jobs.  So one key point is that the end users needs to pay for the service at an affordable price, of course.  The question is, who pays the costs when we target the vulnerable communities?  It depends on the structure and support within its ecosystem.

     And to finish my presentation, my final question is about social impact.  Because we have distributed thousands of computers in Barcelona, but I asked myself how and what are they being used for?  So we need to continue with investigation here. 

     All in all, the model has been labor intensive to set up, but the benefits have far outweighed the effort.  So I finish here, and I pass the floor to Leandro.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Mireia, that was very clear, well done.  So now the next speaker is Yunusa, I see you are connected.

     >> YUNUSA YA'U: My name is Yunusa Ya'u.  (Distorted audio).

     >> MODERATOR: Your sound is breaking up, maybe you can switch off the video.

     >> YUNUSA YA'U: As I said, the communication solution but also practice as -- (distorted audio) of Civil Society organizing from the developing country like Nigeria.

     But I would like to look at how digital inclusion in the context of COVID-19 and in the context of the (break in audio).  And explain out as we push for this -- (distorted audio).

     The most of this reflects this with the importation of secondhand ICT goods.  This is because first (break in audio).

     And secondly because of the (distorted audio) which is leading to the response to the demand for digital inclusion.  People respond -- (distorted audio), and two very promising action have been taken --

     >> MODERATOR: Sorry.

     >> YUNUSA YA'U: And it is increasing the redevelopment   of --

     >> MODERATOR: Sorry, I think it is really hard to understand.

     (Distorted audio)

     >> MODERATOR: Can you -- I'm sorry, but we only get one out of 10 or 20 words.  So can you --

     >> YUNUSA YA'U: So I'm not --

     >> MODERATOR: Can you share some text on your presentation because it will be easier to follow.

     >> YUNUSA YA'U: And that is creating a foundation for the cycle economy --

     >> MODERATOR: We lose most of your message, but if you have some text.

     >> YUNUSA YA'U: So I was acing that -- (distorted audio).

     >> MODERATOR: It is a pity we cannot hear such an important point from Yunusa Ya'u from Northern Nigeria when connectivity is not there. 

     It is difficult to be in a circular economy.  And what Yunusa was talking about is related to the additional problems in dealing with e-waste and repair and the situation in that country which is aggravated by these difficulties of communication.

     So perhaps we can try later on to connect back to Yunusa.  In the meanwhile, I think we can move to the next speaker.  And perhaps, if we are lucky, we can try again later on. 

     I haven't seen Alexandra Alix.  Are you there, by chance?  I don't see you among the participants. 

     If so, then we can move forward to Anders. Anders, can you introduce yourself?

     >> ANDERS ANDRAE: Yes, I can introduce and speak for a couple minutes, five minutes at least.

     >> MODERATOR: Okay.

     >> ANDERS ANDRAE: I have no slides, and I warn you about this, but I will try to speak slowly. 

     I am Anders Andrae.  Maybe you have heard something about me.  I have worked for 12 years, now more than 12 years at Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer. 

     And yeah, I work with life cycle assessment, eco design, substance management and these kind of issues, sustainability issues.

     So it is very interesting time now for this topic, and it has always been.  The life cycle assessment is very important.  It's has always been, but especially for the evaluating circular economy business model, it is crucial to get all these assumptions and data right.

     But still, due to even we can criticize the modeling.  It is essential to everything, every action we do, whether it is repair, remanufacturing, durability, all of this comes together in one score, maybe around carbon or around other indicator. 

     You always have to do these life cycle assessments before you can do -- before you can judge is this the good strategy?  We have discussed this a lot, Leandro, and we also understand that.

     So that is that.  I mean for the circular economy that we need to start, where is the importance?  High volume products like maybe in my field the wi-fi router or something like that.  It has a much higher success -- chance of succeeding with implementing the circular economy in a shorter time than the very small low volume specialized products.  That is how the economy works like that. If you don't have some other regulation.

     So it is not that we can rush into this.  Yes, we need just do it immediately, not directly for all the products.  Definitely the collection of all products, I think personally, and I think this is shown by the macro and micro that we have it for -- we need to collect more of the e-waste, not just landfill.  This is lunacy to just pile it up.  There are resources there that we can use.  Precious metals, critical raw materials and all of that. And this is also recognized. 

     So before we have remanufacturing of every product, we need to start to collect and see what can actually be reused because in all of this technology process, which is rampant, you cannot reuse 10-year-old, you know, micro circuits.  That is impossible.  So we have to look at the realities.

     But there are many indicator which are that can measure this problem.  The materials circularity indicator from Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This has not been published so much.  You have much more to do to publish and carefully evaluate these indicator with ICA is very important.

     And there is so many bolt-ons on this.  Today I read something about even in the data center refreshed source can also have enough energy efficiency.  You know, if modeled correctly. 

     So there's a lot of things that the artificial intelligence or the tools can try to help optimize this jigsaw puzzle, but still apparently not enough money in this maybe as in the energy efficiency.

     Energy efficiency totally extremely important, of course, to solve the whole thing, but still way under resourced.  And then the material efficiency counterpart is the performance achieved with the amount of material you are putting.

     It is also, you can solve this.  And to finish with ideas which I have heard from actually the European Commission.  Actually, they have this Green Deal.  And the previous speaker talked about this, circular economy action plan.  This is very serious policy agenda, drastic new policy will come in just a couple of years in this area.

     So it is more than -- it is more than just the usual regulation on one product. This is a total economic problem strategy.  It is not only an environmental regulation, the green teams, it is -- yeah, I like these new words, extended producer opportunity, extended producer responsibility, but extended user opportunity and positive opportunity.  There they want to improve the market for recycled materials, but then you also have to also check with the ACA how much can you actually gain for this and for which environmental indicator.

     There are the product passport for each product sold, you know.  You have to declare how much recycled content and what is the durability.  So that is an interesting idea which they have.

     The CO2 rewards are planned for this to link CO2 targets to circular economy.  But then I argue that CO2 is important.  But the most important environmental indicator by far is biodiversity.  In every environmental indicator, raw material declaration, if it's raw material depletion, CO2, acidification has been linked to the extinction of species.  Because no ability to -- the biodiversity services without them, so it's over. 

     So there you need to -- the circular economies, bio-based and toxin-free, it's is all great.  But the biodiversity has to be an indicator which can never be compromised.

     Science-based.  We have the science-based targets.  Now we're talking about science-based resource use.  So you have indicator on product level.  So it's science-based, how much resources are there.  You have 10-15 additional depletion indicator, but then you need a kind of agreed, for the moment, science-based research, science-based energy efficiency also.

     And the European Commission I think seem to want to focus on the materials themselves as to the green chemistry.  I mean drastic decarbonization of the metals and plastics and ceramics, all these building blocks.  If you decarbonize them, but then I think it's a little dangerous to say just decarbonize them. What are the rebound effects and side effects of decarbonization?  Are there any other effects on biodiversity?

     And, of course, we have now this linear waste management.  You have the end of use phase waste management.

     But then it has to go from the waste management to truly, because it is circular economy. But for that, we are quite far to reach an agreement that we should have a circular economy because it has a lot -- it's criticized a lot about relying the conflicts between durability and reliability and safety.

     Product safety is very important.  Yeah, prerequisite for every product for the safe handling of the consumer.  And then you -- what is most important in the eco design regulation.  You also have that that the performance and the safety regulation are kind of more important and they more low risk than this. 

     But there is more to do definitely.  It is very interesting the tools we have now to check to -- to check this problem.

     And yeah -- and also this is not new but, yeah, the proper design for planet safety, planetary boundaries we have already.  But I think these kind of messages will be more important. 

     Circular economy is one issue we can tie this together, but it is hard to understand where are we now.  That we need to make sure and be able to make sure sustainability more or something.

     And but my personal idea is that biodiversity is under researched and this is -- we need to have -- if we have carbon reduction, we also need to have, you know, biodiversity safety, something like that.  I'm finished.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Anders.  A lot of ideas that are worth maybe to discuss.  So shall we maybe open the floor for questions or comments? 

     You know, the circular economy, it is very extensive.  And there are many processes involved.  And we tried to cover some and some viewpoints, but if you have a question or comment also about something that we have missed in the landscape, feel free to speak to ask the floor and maybe you can raise your hand and ask questions.  Or maybe the speakers want to clarify any aspect that was missing.

     I see a comment about the lockdown as a good time to collaborate and suggest a new macroeconomic design.  The mention about the planned obsolescence.

     In fact, obsolescence has been mentioned as well that it is not like fruits that evolve over hundreds of years, but devices are 10 years, old device is no longer like useable sometimes.

     And asking for --

     >> ROZI BAKO: May I answer?

     >> MODERATOR: Yeah, go ahead, Rozi.  Feel free.

     >> ROZI BAKO: My camera doesn't work for some reason.  I don't know why.

     >> MODERATOR: But we can hear your voice.

     >> ROZI BAKO: Oh.  It was important, I wanted to show you.  I don't know what is going on.  I wanted to show you a very old phone I'm using that I can describe.  It is a 2015 phone.

     Related to -- devices, yes, Leandro, you are right, we are surrounded by many digital devices from many different generations.  And we can choose what to do with them.  Should we discard them and make them top the landfills or prolonged use in a way that is reasonable and practical?

     For instance, I use my six-year-old phone to make digital recordings.  I record interviews with it.  It works perfectly.  I can also use it as a hotspot.  Last year when I was in Tunis at the Rights-Con conference, I bought a data SIM for my phone and it is true that it works only under 3G, but it was perfect.  And I could use my very old phone as an internet resource at the conference for myself.

     So, I think we need some ideas on how can we from a consumer perspective, how can we prolong our device's lifespan in this way.  Or on a higher level when we think on a -- on an organizational level how an organization discards the products they have a larger impact.  I think it is important to consumer level as well. 

     It is an educational activity to educate consumers reusing their devices and prolonging the device's lifespan, but we have to also look at the bigger picture as well.

     And as Carlos Alfonso mentioned in the comment section, that there are real difficulties like servers are very energy consumer sources and they are really difficult parts of the problem when we want to work on circularity. 

     Let me give you another poll from recently remarkably a telecommunicator from Romania launched a repair campaign called give a new life to your device.  And they are launching repair services for the consumers.

     Previously they only launched a campaign how to collect old devices and encouraged consumers to buy new ones.  Now it is a shift.  It as mentality shift as well.  And even from the perspective of big players, it is important to mention these good practices because they might be copied by others.

     >> MODERATOR: In fact, what you mentioned, links with some of the comments in the discussion that it may happen that your device is no longer useful because the frequency bands might be moved to 5G so to make room for selling new devices and means that older phones will not find the best station to connect and be used.  I don't know if anyone wants to vocalize the discussion on 5G.

     >> ANDERS ANDRAE: You cannot use the old phones on the networks.  They say it is the same as 4G phones, you can use the 3G.  At least that is an option about 5G is incorrect. 

     The obsolescence will not be driven by that principle.  It will be -- yeah, as the usual stuff that you won't -- that you think you need it.  Yeah, yeah, I cannot live, have my old one just because there is something new now, you know.  So this is the principle.

     >> MODERATOR: It might be the case, but at least in my area, I mean my old Nokia phone from 10 years ago doesn't find because they are being replaced.  Maybe it is 2G.

     >> ANDERA ANDRAE: I think it must be 2G.  But I think the discussion is also how many years it should, for example, the mobile phone, be able to live?  Not 20 years, maybe not even 10 years, but maybe five years or five to seven years.  That could be a discussion, what could be the expectant lifetime, technology lifetime.

     It should be forever.  That is what the earth demands.  This is one thing I think about that if they should have this, if people don't use it as long as they could anyways.  That's it.  If they break down before the technical physical lifetime, that's a problem.

     5G is a big topic.  Maybe we need 5G to solve some other issues also.  The resource efficiency of 5G could be quite high.  Enabling, you know, pipe inspection with drone, things like that, so then you save fuel and resources. 

     It seems it has some energy consumption, but it also enables something, and it is also very energy efficient.  Joules per beat is like 25 to 100 times more energy efficient.

     And then how we prove these enabling offsetting cases.  I think it can be done, but that is not all.  But I think it's up to the individual, mostly individual choices.  The circular economy is about individual choices, at least in countries which have a prolific collection infrastructure like, for example, Sweden, then it is up to the individual how circular you want to be.

     >> MODERATOR: Yeah.  But, for instance, I see also a comment in the chat that people is more willing to drive second-hand car even if it is more dangerous than a phone.  But and they can last more than 10 years, of course.  I see -- and people love to keep their cars working despite they are older and older. 

     And the older they are the more valuable they become.  And perhaps with modern electronics that is not the case.  And old 20, 30 years cars ideally, I mean people are very proud of them.

     Of course, they are not capable of doing wonders like modern cars that have so many features and people love them.  As you said it is a matter of choice in letting individuals to decide about the usage of their devices.

     It is a matter of choice.  And I encourage you to come back and bring some contributions to the board.  I see some of you did it.  So maybe we can also -- any other comment? 

     Or we can move and talk about what we can do for this.  If you look at the board, there are some ideas, questions and action items.  So we can clarify whatever you are interested. 

     But we have to make sure that we get -- we have some conclusions that allow us to think about, for instance, do we need a governance for the circular economy?  Is that something needed?  Or not?  And if so, is it part of the IGF to that?

     >> MIREIA ROURA: I think governance, more in because we are -- our reverse supply chain of electronic devices is now very old tech, so I think that information does not flow between all regions which means it is according to the principle of maximum economic profit without taking the others into account, no?

     Simply because they don't have the information about the other intermediates.  And cooperative ecosystems and governments allow information to be shared and to take decisions that maybe they are not the most profitable economically for the sector, but it is the best for everyone and for the long-term.

     >> MODERATOR: There is comments in the chat about the repair economies that are quite prevalent in many parts of Africa. 

     And that is like we can try, if Yunusa can speak again because that was mainly the topic of his speech.

     >> ROZI BAKO: Maybe he can add the comments in the chat box. 

     And my internet is unstable, and that is probably why I cannot switch my camera on.  Repair and repairability and upgrade the life of devices and the questions addressed on how can we put this message forward to different stakeholders. 

     Yes, the IGF is such a space where we can encounter people from the technical community, educators, Civil Society activities, policy makers.  I think it is -- this is one of the spaces where we can speak the same language even if we have different perspectives, we can bring this positive message.

     And I do believe that case studies guides like the circular economy guide we are working on, Leandro, are good tools to promote the different ideas to the public, to the general public and to the policy makers. 

     For policy makers, maybe some other format for our instrument such as policy briefs summarizing the research results and mainstreaming the key ideas and also success stories from other parts of the world because it is also inspiring to see how different regions are in country -- and countries are.  working on the same issue.  This is important to get inspired from these.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you.  I agree that IGF is designed for a discussion about the internet and definitely ICT devices are the key ingredient. 

     I don't know if the audience or speakers can comment about other possible forums?  There are many.  And probably in each one of them there is an opportunity to discuss about one aspect, but some degree of coordination among them would be really useful.  And even when we talk about IGF, there are different instruments.

     There is a comment about IGF to work together with World Economic Forum and new think tanks.  It was mentioned before the foundation that works on the circular economy and one aspect they have worked sometime is about the electronics or computer-based devices.  That could be another. 

     We are in the decade of the big, required efforts for mitigating climate change.  Anders before talked and he is active in the ITU-T group on circular economy. 

     And recently there was an approve the recommendation of the trajectory of 1.5 degrees from the IPPC implies a linear reaction of more than 4% of environmental impact on the ICT sector every year.  Which is -- which goes in the opposite direction of how the sector is evolving.  Definitely we are not in the right track.  And also sometimes we talk about ICT, but ICT is -- it builds on materials.

     And builds on energy.  And energy comes also from other sources which are not that green still.

     So yeah, there are some comments here about mobile networks.  Because, yeah, when we talk about devices, we tend to talk about user devices and ones we own.  But these depend on the network providers and that is some mobile operators and base stations and internet servers.  And that is a part of the problem as well or the challenge.

     There is mention about the growth.  Frugality is not having more but rely on less.  I see Michael is willing to talk.  Please go ahead, Michael.

     >> MICHAEL OGHIA: Can you hear me?  Great.  Thank you so much, Leandro, for giving me the floor. 

     So I want to say when it comes to thinking about the IGF as a space for this, I have been advocating for a very long time that the IGF is quite an ideal place, to be frank, to be discussing things like ICT sustainability, circular economy as it relates to the internet and electronic devices. 

     I think it's wonderful because my thesis and a lot of my experience kind of revolves around the fact that there are so many of these conversations happening, but in many different places.  This is the siloed approach that is often referred to. 

     A good example of this is there's a community that I joined last year called the Forum for Sustainability Through Life Cycle Innovation, FSLCI.  It's based in Berlin.

     But it, too, is a multi-stakeholder community that is meant to bring together different organizations and individuals, researchers and whatnot working on lifecycle assessment. 

     And I went to their summer school last year, and it was incredibly eye opening.  But the thing is like practically nobody there was anybody that was working on necessarily digitization or working on ICT sustainability. 

     So it is was a really good way for me, for instance to bring our perspective to them and for me to get their perspective.  So it's a good example, I think, of a community out there that is not necessarily engaged with the IGF but is one that we should be reaching out to.

     So I suppose my kind of thesis or my call to action involves this, is that to me the IGF represents a great place for convening, for coming together, for bringing together all of these different perspectives.  And then we can then figure out what needs to be done, what work needs to be done. 

     Already there is a proposed BPF on environmental data.  And that's fantastic.  That is one side of what I call the square.  I'm creating this thing in my head where it goes if there is four points on the square, one point is data.  One point is ICTs themselves and their ability to enable sustainable development or enable more, let's say, greener digitizations.  But then there is the opposite side, the third point, which is obviously ICT sustainability in and of itself. 

     But then there's the fourth point.  And that is, say, the sustainability of organizations, things like procurements, things like decarbonizing their supply chain or their operations and whatnot.  All of these things are interconnected.

     But at the same time, there is a lot of space to take each one of these in its own right. 

     The same goes to the circular economy.  Making sure that we are bringing together, you know, interested individuals and organizations that are interested in this, but also making sure that we have a very clear ask, a very clear kind of path forward, so to speak.  But of course we can only do that through consultation. 

     So I really kind of implore everyone to think about the different communities.  Who is missing?  Who is not part of this conversation?  And then use the IGF as the space, whether it is the national and regional initiatives or the global IGF as the space where we can bring them together. 

     That is exactly what we're doing on Monday, for example, somebody I met at the summer school, Pia, she used to be a board member of FSLCI.  She's a well-established Chilean circular economy expert working in Latin America.  She's actually going to joining on Monday in a session I'm moderating, we will be talking about, and Veronika who is also on this call will be there as well. 

     It is discussing how does this multi-stakeholder effort to create a more sustainable ICT ecosystem, what does that actually look like?  How do we get there?  Because the research is there, the ideas are there but now we need to talk about implementation.  And the only way to do that is talking across communities and the only way to do that is if we have at least one central place to bring everybody together. 

     If that's not the definition of the IGF, I don't know what is.  And thank you so much for doing this.  And thank everybody for being here.

     >> MODERATOR: I totally agree with what you say, and it would be great that we use this time together to define a common mission and set of values but also to decide on continuing this discussion further through, I don't know if Dynamic Coalitions or Best Practice Forums because definitely the topic deserves it.

     Because IGF is a space that is active during a few weeks over the year, but we need to find some way to continue the discussion and also start the action because it is time for doing that.

     So it is great that -- I mean, if you are involved in, any of you involved in any further discussion during the IGF, the chat and the support is a good place to share the links because we need to keep this discussion on.  And also to reinforce what the IGF has done this year that has put environmental topics as one of the key priorities.  So we have to make sure that this continues and gives results.

     I see other comments about different business models.  For instance, we typically think about consumer electronics or personal devices or digital devices, but also there are the work environment and the governmental environment, public procurement is very successful and the selection of devices for work. 

     And it is driven by completely different principles.  And public procurement is many times aware of all of the implications from the circular economy because they want to perhaps buy at the best price but also not be part of the exploitation of the environment and of people, both in the manufacturing and then in the disposal of the devices later on. 

     Or during the COVID pandemic we've witnessed, as Mireia mentioned, that governments sometimes see a solution of buying new laptops for children.  But then when they go to the marketplace, they find that the supply chain is broken. 

     And then the only way to go forward is by reusing devices that were there and were operational recently.  And then that is the only way to really supply any devices for users.

     There was a comment here about guiding the space and, of course, about ineffective action, and we have to find effective ways to move forward.

     >> ROZI BAKO: I think an important stakeholder to be brought to the discussion table beyond the consumers that was already mentioned, those consumers or the end users of the supply chain, independent repair shops, independent repair organizations are also deeply involved in the whole process of the circular economy.  Because their interests are largely bridged with the closed repair environments.

     >> MODERATOR: Yeah, yeah.  I mean in the last years has been, at least I know in Europe, the European Right to Repair Campaign with partners like I Fix It who promotes a kind of like approach similar to free open source so citizens when they buy devices, they should have the right to know how to maintain them and how to repair them. 

     And sometimes this -- you mentioned in your speech before that sometimes it looks more like a closed source model where your device doesn't seem to be owned by fully you but the manufacturer has a lot of power in it.

     Recently, for instance, in the ITU work with Anders, we were involved in the -- in one study about selling, let's say, the service instead of the devices.  Servitization in which case the ownership is shared between the supplier and the user.  And then the device can be returned and can be reset and prepare for another user.  And that promotes more durable design. 

     But at the same time, also creates a stronger dependency on the manufacturers perhaps haves.  So servitization is also way of circularity with potentially some drawbacks.

     In the case, for instance, of e-waste, I was looking at the global e-waste monitor and one of the, for instance, actions is that there are countries with no e-waste regulation yet.  So this is a risk because it is an opportunity to export e-waste.  These guys has operational devices and then without the e-waste regulation that becomes a major source of pollution because they get dropped and forgotten.

     So I encourage you to try to translate your comments and action items in particular to this board so we can produce our report at the end. 

     I see already a link to the 266 Session on Monday.  Comments about collecting from -- obviously that the challenge of community decentralization to transfer and collect e-waste. 

     For instance, in ITU I'm involved in one discussion about the role of universities and equivalent training institutions in helping emerging economies to create sustainable practices of E-waste management and also all of the aspects that appear before like probably procurement and inventory management and repair and anything related to extending the lifespan of the devices.  That is also important work to do because developed countries in the end end up having careful regulations where some other parts of the world do not have. 

     I don't know if you are aware, but they couldn't make it for this session but there is an NGO called Electronics Watch which is looking at the manufacturing and public procurement of ICT devices. 

     And it seems that public procurement is very strong because in these procurement contracts they can include clauses which make sure that manufacturers comply with labor rights and also with environmental rights.  And then everyone benefits from this because if manufacturers become committed to respect those limits, they do it for every device, not only for those supplied for the public institutions, but also to the normal citizens.  So this is also an interesting way to introduce incentives that benefit the environment.

     I see a note from Jorge about this topic.  So I mentioned about toxin-free and circular comment in years.  Anders, do you want to explain your comment?

     >> ANDERS ADRAE: Yeah, I see the Swedish politician comments, so that seems to be the vision, toxin-free bio-based circular economy.  I don't know how quickly, but as fast as possible. 

     But then we have to discuss is this possible?  What speaks for that?  What speaks against it in reality?  We haven't reached that.

     Biobased may have its own problem with land use and biodiversity issue.  To implement circular, yeah, maybe it is possible with the new business models and but then you may have the latest business models from the top, you know, top -- I don't know what actually to say, but I'm very much fond of the actually what is theoretically possible, the actual exact truth with the economic system we have so we don't fool ourselves. 

     We also have these rules and all of these books that yeah, we don't have any problem.  The lifetime, life expectancy of everyone in the world is going up, so we also have to think about the absolute top down perspective prospect and the human health.  Is it getting worse?  Is getting better?  That is one. 

     So to put everything in perspective is also -- but -- so also this is a hard question what actually is possible?  Is this what we are doing now, is this just incremental stuff?  Eco-labeling system, may be ready in 10 years, what will that lead?

     >> MODERATOR: Yeah. But, for instance, the current situation shows that what could, it could be physical things we really didn't expect to happen.  So there is the potential for not only incremental change but also environmental change. 

     One topic that I wouldn't like to leave without mention is that we tend to typically think about devices and environment, but sustainable development goals have to do with dealing with inequality.  And people suffer inequality. 

     In previous workshops, there was a discussion about the intersection between environmental rights and human rights.  And we define rights in terms of human beings.

     And we have to make sure that the lives we lead and the devices we enjoy apply and appear for those who can connect and those who can interact through digital means. 

     But as we saw before, Yunusa had big issues to convey his message.  And in terms of connectivity, we're talking about half of the population in the world is unconnected or is partially connected. 

     And the solutions should work for everyone, not only for those who are able to participate in these remote forums that have good connectivity. 

     So this is also -- I mean inequality and social justice is an important thing.  And I see a contribution from Shawna on gender feminist perspective and intersectional issues.  And one comment on the footprint of the internet that I recommended you to visit.

     I don't know if anyone wants to comment about the gender dimension of the circular economy and how efforts are unequally distributed across different economies but also across gender and in different populations. 

     Yeah, this is also raising the question of the importance of having data about -- we have opinions, but also, we can collect data about the durability of existing devices.  And this is information that people should know to be able to label and aggregate information and to know which brands or models not only how repairable they are but also how durable they are.  And yeah, as Anders says, there is labeling coming related to that.

     But also citizens cannot only collect information about how to repair the devices, but also about what is their experience so we can also incentivize manufacturers to produce better more durable devices.

     So I think we are close to the end of the session.  And I would remind -- I mean there have been a lot of ideas, I took several notes.  But I hope you have a better understanding of all of the different aspects on the different let's say stop points in the circular economy trip and the entering and leaving materials and energy that appear on it and how everything is connected.

     And I hope also we can continue the discussion on how to -- how to strengthen and how to continue discussing about the governance of the environmental sustainability of ICT technology, and in particular the approach of the circular economy, but there are others. 

     And I encourage you to keep coming to the upcoming workshops.  As Rozi mentioned before, there is one session on Monday in the APC booth on the introduction of the GIS watch, the Global Information Society watch analysis which is in this period or this year it is devoted to environmental sustainability like it was 10 years ago. 

     And also the introduction of a circular economy guide that is a first release of the draft document.  And then you can come and learn and also contribute ideas for the final version that will be due the beginning of the next year probably. 

     Shawna has shared here the link to the booth.  And so you are welcome on Monday to come and visit us and discuss and continue the discussion. 

     You have my e-mail or my contact in the session.  But anyway, please if you have any comment that was not covered, please send me a message, and I will be happy to include it in the report.

     And I think this is the time for the end of the session.  So thank you so much for joining us.  And see you in the upcoming sessions on environmental sustainability.  Thank you so much. 

 

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