SDG 12 — Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

(1) Fundamental human rights cannot be limited by terms and conditions of business. IT and digital corporations have a responsibility to uphold human rights. This has to be an integral part of business practices as well as national, EU and international regulation. Similar to the corporate accountability index, IT-companies should have to ensure that
their technologies, algorithms and software do not violate human rights. The supervision of these processes needs to be independent, transparent and publicly accessible. Governments need to start meeting their obligations to protect human rights and the environment against harmful activities of corporations. Thus, the introduction and regulation of corporations’ liabilities nationally and internationally is needed, including through the UN process towards a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights as well as the implementation of transparency initiatives along the value
chain such as the Kimberly Process, conflict mineral laws or the UK Modern Slavery Act.

(2) The principles of privacy by design and privacy by default have to be applied. Governments should introduce data protection regulation and continue to improve and implement existing legislation such as the GDPR. E-privacy legislation needs to be adopted as soon as possible, including a regulation on the use of search engine data and communication software. Tracking has to be limited. Data processors have to ensure all regulations of data protection are applied during the whole process of data handling. A violation of data protection law or against fundamental rights has to be prosecuted. This includes rigorous and consequent follow-up on nuisances and scandals even if commercial interest might be impaired.

(3) Warranties need to become much more consumer-friendly. Transparency of a product’s durability has to increase through a mandatory identification of its life span by the producer. This includes a labeling system that transparently and comprehensibly informs customers of maximum service life (e.g. of expandable parts), of durability, reparability and modularity of a product. Any case of planned obsolescence should be considered a criminal offense on the bases of “willful deception”, and be regulated accordingly through consumer protection laws.

(4) The fundamental right to property should include the right to repair. All producers and retailers should make expandable parts accessible to all market actors during the service life of a product. The price of expandable parts needs to be reasonable and justifiable in relation to production costs. A legal claim for accessible expandable parts has to be ensured. Any data or documentation relevant for repairs as well as specific tools should be supplied to repair facilities at low to no costs. Information concerning repair-friendliness of a product has to be easy to spot for customers.

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