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‘Right to repair is a logical part of a sustainable and commercial business model’

The European Union recently introduced legislation giving consumers the right to repair products. This is a big step forward for the circular economy but raises questions about its logistical and financial feasibility. In the Netherlands, several major retailers are united in the Circular Shopping in 2030 export group, which is exploring how to develop a sustainable and, in the long run, profitable business model around right to repair.

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Self-repair

The right to repair allows consumers to have their broken products repaired instead of buying new ones. This applies both inside and outside the warranty period. It should also make it easier to carry out repairs yourself. An inspiring example within the expert group is the Witgoedbrigade, which focuses on repairing white goods like washing machines. These appliances often involve specific parts, such as washing drum bearings, which, once replaced, signifantly extend the appliance's life. By modifying the design of the appliance so that repair is relatively simple, consumers could carry out the repair themselves. Witgoedbrigade has developed the chatbot 'Bram' for this purpose, which helps customers with self-repairs. this can reduce costs fot both retailers and consumers. After all, transportation hampers the financial viability of offering a repair service, especially for low-value products. It is crucial to strike a balance between costs and benefits. Collaborations with transporters and logistics partners are currently explored to reduce costs.


Circular business model

Fortunately, many retailers in the Netherlands have been working on circular initiatives for some time. For example, Decathlon helps customers repair many products, both in-store by an employee and at home with the help of a tutorial. This is an excellent example of how companies can integrate sustainability into their business model in an ecologically and economically beneficial way.


Innovative solutions

The right to repair offers a unique opportunity to make our economy more sustainable while reaping commercial benefits. With innovative solutions and cooperation within the retail sector, we can develop an environmentally friendly and financially viable model. The government would do well to use the expert outcomes, as mentioned earlier, when transposing European rules into national legislation.

We advocate for the whole chain to facilitate product repair so that consumers repair rather than purchase new products.


Podcast

Recht op reparatie is logisch onderdeel - Steven van Dalen

Listen to the podcast

Tijdens een interview bij de omroep Wetering besprak Steven van Dalen het recht op reparatie als logisch onderdeel van een duurzaam en commercieel bedrijfsmodel.