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Climate Crisis. Right to Repair Mandates In France. Jean-Paul Ventere
Episode 17025th April 2022 • Your Positive Imprint • Catherine Praiswater
00:00:00 00:29:54

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Jean-Paul Ventère shares his government role in France’s repairability index and the Right To Repair mandates in France. Jean-Paul was responsible for the labeling of eco products and their life cycle assessments. Today France leads the way in the promotion of repairability, which in turn contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Legislation in France mandates companies to display information to consumers, thus paving the way so that they can choose repairable, reliable and more robust products. Jean-Paul shares the right to repair legislation in France and his role in moving eco-design forward.

Transcripts

Catherine:

thank you so much for listening to all of these amazing and exceptional, positive imprints.

Catherine:

I'm Catherine, your host for the podcast, Your Positive Imprint, the variety show, featuring people all over the world whose positive actions are inspiring positive achievements.

Catherine:

Exceptional people rise to the challenge.

Catherine:

Music by the talented Chris Nole., ChrisNole.com.

Catherine:

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Catherine:

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Catherine:

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Catherine:

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Catherine:

Enjoy the show and get inspired to activate your own positive imprint.

Catherine:

Your positive imprint.

Catherine:

What's your PI.

Catherine:

How many times have you replaced your smartphone?

Catherine:

You know, those are things.

Catherine:

Those are questions that when I started this podcast, I wasn't really asking myself.

Catherine:

And then when I started this podcast and learning so much about planned obsolescence and the right to repair and.

Catherine:

I mean, there was so much to educate ourselves on and to do research on and to learn more about what is at stake for our environment and for mankind as we move forward.

Catherine:

Right.

Catherine:

So when we have our cell phones or smartphones, it's hard to know how long it's actually going to last, or even if we can fix it when it goes bad.

Catherine:

And that goes for even our wifi systems, the routers.

Catherine:

So my uncle who lives over in Wisconsin had low uncle Jim.

Catherine:

Anyway, he has an old smartphone and he has no desire to replace it.

Catherine:

Why should he spend money?

Catherine:

His works perfectly fine for what he uses it for.

Catherine:

Well, recently, as we know the

Catherine:

uh, 3g and 4g and 5g are changing all around the world and his router, his wifi no longer works with his equipment.

Catherine:

And they told him when he called to get help they told him you need to buy a new smartphone so that it will.

Catherine:

Uh, be compatible with the router.

Catherine:

Well, he wasn't going to do that.

Catherine:

And then his desktop started failing to connect to wifi and they told him you need to get a new desktop.

Catherine:

Your desktop is too old.

Catherine:

So my uncle did get his old router back.

Catherine:

And he's just not going to have uh, the great coverage that other people have because they have upgraded.

Catherine:

And my uncle there and my aunt, there is no need for them to upgrade because what they have works for what they do.

Catherine:

But we are living in an era of planned obsolescence.

Catherine:

But guess what?

Catherine:

My guest today, Jean-Paul Ventere is going to share how that is changing because France started a repairability index and it's based on a range of criteria,

Catherine:

Technical documents, the, uh, CO2 non emissions.

Catherine:

I mean, it goes on and on and on.

Catherine:

It's great.

Catherine:

So.

Catherine:

There's a lot to learn about Right To Repair, planned obsolescence.

Catherine:

And the right to repair movement, I think is starting to move things in the right direction so that consumers can make decisions on the products that we buy.

Catherine:

And now back to the introduction of my guest, Jean-Paul Ventère shares his government role in France's repairability index and the right to repair mandates in France.

Catherine:

Jean-Paul was responsible for the labeling of eco products and their life cycle assessments.

Catherine:

And he'll explain more on that.

Catherine:

Today, France does lead the way in the promotion of repairability, which in turn contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Catherine:

So important.

Catherine:

Jean-Paul will explain all of that and the right to repair legislation in France and his role in moving eco design forward.

Catherine:

Jean-Paul, thank you so much for being here on the show.

Catherine:

Well, welcome.

Catherine:

Oh my goodness.

Catherine:

So I wanna, , start out with, with just first France.

Catherine:

What is it like in France and where are you in France?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Well, I live near Paris.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Uh, it's not the suburb.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It's a 20 kilometers away from Paris.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

live in a residence with much, many trees,

Jean-Paul Ventere:

gathering sounds are

Catherine:

busy all

Jean-Paul Ventere:

year round

Jean-Paul Ventere:

very busy.

(Jean-Paul's village:

"La Celle Saint- Cloud"

Catherine:

oh, my goodness.

Catherine:

goodness.

Catherine:

Well, and you too are busy all year round and you have been busy for, 40 years almost.

Catherine:

And you are retired.

Catherine:

But for your entire working life, you have been putting forth your positive imprints for the future of the planet.

Catherine:

And I would love for you to explain to listeners the make up of your ministry there in France

Catherine:

first of all.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Well in France, we have a big ministry for the environment, covering many aspects.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Energy, materials, uh, construction, whatever and myself I was specialized on c economy.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

And for the longest part of my career about eco-design of products.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

In fact, uh, I was officially in charge of not eco co-design eco products can you believe concept was not yet invented speaking of eco design, we spoke about eco products.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I was in charge since 1989.

Catherine:

Wow.

Catherine:

And so we're looking at the eco products.

Catherine:

And in, in what aspect are you talking about in development or legislation?

Catherine:

What was it that was your part back then?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Yeah, that's a very interesting question.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Uh, the thing is it was voluntary, and, uh, let's say even if my colleagues will not appreciate what they say.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Uh, we have been preaching like in the desert for 30 years.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It was voluntary so I was in charge of official labeling and methodology sophisticated methodology, like life cycle assessments, but it's only lately that

Jean-Paul Ventere:

eco design became mandatory a very special aspects, which is repairability..

Catherine:

repairability?

Catherine:

being mandatory.

Catherine:

Do you have legislation now in France

Catherine:

because France you're one of the leading countries if I'm not mistaken in repairability or right to repair products,

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I hope so.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I would agree.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Yes, we are we are considered as a front runner

Jean-Paul Ventere:

considering the legislation aspects and.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

During the three last years of my career, I've been working on the repairability index that is from the summer, uh, 2018, uh, and three years later, um, it's, it's enforced.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

The legislation is in place since more than one year the producer, uh, selling products in France,

Jean-Paul Ventere:

. I mean, wherever they produce it for in the world, they have to calculate this a mandatory repairability index and the retailers, they have to inform the consumer they buy some, anything you see?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So this is a transparency to help us how easy or how difficult it is to dismantle the product, to find spare pieces, spare parts, to replace in case

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It's not working and the consumer is supposed to make the choice to easily repairable products.

Catherine:

Wow.

Catherine:

So you've already had that legislation.

Catherine:

how do consumers feel about it out there?

Catherine:

Have they been supporting this for a long time and asking for it?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Well, it's difficult.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Honestly, it's difficult to, to give description of the state of mind.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

The thing is that they are very interested.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

they are following this.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

There have been polls and queries showing more than 75%, I think it's 83% say that they say that they would, forget about their favorite trademark, you know, and choose choose a more easily repairable product.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It's in place one year and they say they receive it with great interest.

Catherine:

Yes.

Catherine:

And the corporate level.

Catherine:

the producers of these products, Are they happy to oblige?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Yes, there is a big variety of attitudes among producers.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

are surprised, completely surprised.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

And after a time over they say, okay, we will we make this a, an opportunity, we want to be the best in the world, in this new direction, repairability but this is a minority.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Between the two or three world One is playing like that let's be the best.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So don't, don't underestimate this movement, but the majority, they are disturbed.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

They are, they would like to stop the process.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

And, uh, they come to me sometimes with this double a double plan, what we learn, because now as I'm retired, I explain the majority and I try to help producers to anticipate et

Catherine:

Yeah,

Catherine:

so, and you, you mentioned something when we were chatting earlier about the, CO2 non emissions, which wow.

Catherine:

we're talking some toxins, what do you mean by the CO2 non emissions and what types of products are you talking about?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Okay, good question.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I hope I hope your listeners are, uh, still awake because these.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

are new, not completely new ideas, but we have new studies proving that to keep an electrical or electronic product as As long as you can is the best

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Why?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Because to produce these devices, you need so many materials to transform them, et cetera.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

That the main impact more than the main impact 75% of the impacts they accrue while you are producing these devices.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It's much more important that you use it, or even when you close to the end of life, whatever for recycling.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Keep it, as long as you can is better than to buy a new one.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So in fact, the difference between the choices, makes it that, you avoid new emissions by keeping your device

Catherine:

It absolutely makes sense with the CO2 emissions.

Catherine:

So do you, in France when you're talking about, even if it's the methodology or you're talking about mandates, out there, do you.

Catherine:

hear from, or need to deal with say American companies of electronics, because it will impact their sales in France.

Catherine:

So do you need to work with any of them?

Catherine:

Are there groups out there that represent some of the big name companies that are based in United States?

Catherine:

Like for smartphones, especially.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Well, the big one is already suffering and changing his strategy.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Apple is changing its strategy.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So people in France, some analysts, they think that partly it's because of the French, uh, regulation, but you know, there is this movement and the

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So it's, it's complicated, but to design products so that they are easily, repairable will be the simplest step.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

The first step is, will they be more open to provide spare parts to independent repairers or even

Jean-Paul Ventere:

consumers themselves to repair the device?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So Apple has changed its strategy.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It means it's a trend.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

France is the leader for this legislation.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

But it's a trend in the world.

Catherine:

I'm guessing that the rest of Europe is going to implement this type of legislation and mandatory more in line with France

Catherine:

I'm a consumer.

Catherine:

I bought it, I own it.

Catherine:

I want to repair it.

Catherine:

But now we're also hearing the CO2 non emissions, hopefully these companies, as you say, they're changing their strategy.

Catherine:

They're hopefully going change in the upcoming future.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Yeah, well, to avoid emissions for the future is a consequence of good consequence.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It's a profitable consequence of, uh, repairing and also refurbishing.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

The legislation in France is original.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Uh, it says only describe yourself, it's a transparency obligation, and it implies that the consumer will make the right choice

Jean-Paul Ventere:

let's say.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

We will act accordingly when purchasing or not purchasing a new product.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So CO2, non emissions is a consequence and, To come back to the subject matter there are many criteria to assess the repairability of a product

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Anyway, the European commission will come out this year

Jean-Paul Ventere:

with a similar legislation that is a mandatory repairability index in full transparency and we hope in full honesty, you are describe yourself and to describe the promises in

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I don't know, in English assist us at this task.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So the European commission will imitate this legislation, but it will be, reduced first for smartphones and tablets.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

This is where I say it's a trend in the world.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

France is a leader and say, Europe will follow and I don't know how they take the, these, this issue in the United States in Canada and Australia, they are working in this direction of

Jean-Paul Ventere:

let's open the possibilities to repair, but I don't know how they will make it.

Catherine:

Right, right.

Catherine:

Well, we have, I fix it.

Catherine:

Uh, which is a movement.

Catherine:

And of course you mentioned the president of the United States has been pushing forward with right to repair and mandates.

Catherine:

So I think that things are moving in a direction that is positive for our planet, but, and I, and I want to mention the orangutans because that hasn't been mentioned, I know

Catherine:

And I also look at with the making of a new iPhone over and over again.

Catherine:

Or not just iPhone, I don't want to just parcel out that one, but smartphones in general and electronics, that habitat of Orangutang is being destroyed in order to make these, so that for me comes into play.

Catherine:

Has there been any discussion in France or in Europe about the loss of wildlife due to the making of these electronics?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Yes.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Yeah.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I don't know how to translate in English.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Um, it's correct.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I mean, it's completely true, but the thing is that about biodiversity, there are not so many sorted indicators, the methodology is incredibly complicated.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So the problem exists, but there are not so many instruments to measure the problem.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So frankly, speaking

Jean-Paul Ventere:

we have been working and now personally, I'm promoting designed for repairability.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

There will be many benefits, not only for the planet.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I am a bit disappointed now for the future of mankind.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I mean, we've floods, we've fires and even with simply the temperature, people will die from it when they will be working outside.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I mean, anywhere in the world, in the United States, in, uh, in the Arabic countries or in Indonesia, or, I mean, the temperature will not be the human being will not tolerate such increase in temperature.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So it's the future of mankind and not only the planet.

Catherine:

So the future of mankind would certainly include everything that we do live with, and that is, wildlife and habitat.

Catherine:

So design for the future of mankind.

Catherine:

I think that that is just hearing the word mankind that really puts a, a visual, I think, and I hope that the producers of these products understand that their pockets today are

Catherine:

this alone is extremely interesting and important and people need to be aware of it.

Catherine:

How do you see since, since France has already started this and moving forward, what is the next step for France at this time?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Well, the next step is already written in the law, it's a c economy law from the 10th of February two years ago, 2020.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

And it's already written that this repairability index will be transformed into the durability index.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It means new dimensions will be added.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Repairability will still remain, but there will be reliability.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

And robustness.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

and availability so this index will get richer if you like.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

But personally, I like it simple and tangible.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I like the repairability aspect.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

And the question for the businesses, is, uh, especially in a dynamic nation, like the United States of America.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I mean, how long will it take before people will think in terms of frugality, I mean, your podcast is for positive imprint, but the question is about less negative.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

What will be the future of humanity regarding the climate crisis?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

My guess, and there is a lot of reasoning behind this; analytics, et cetera, sociology, whatever.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

My guess is that in 2050 that is 30 years from now humanity will be in a panic.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It will be.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Humanity will be in a panic.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So positive imprint is more about less negatives.

Catherine:

My goal is when people listen is hopefully to get inspired by people like you to engage their positive imprint into activities.

Catherine:

Imprints are going to be left forever and ever whether they're positive or negative, there'll be there forever.

Catherine:

And.

Catherine:

If we want to negate the negative, then we need to simply really work on the positive.

Catherine:

One of my observations is that people, I think people know about the problems.

Catherine:

I think, well, for me, I think the world is in a panic state now.

Catherine:

Uh, when we look at global warming and climate change, I'm panicked.

Catherine:

I don't want to lose the polar bears.

Catherine:

Uh, I don't want to lose the ice any more than what we're losing.

Catherine:

My observation is that people don't want to get involved until there's either, one legislation from their government that says you have to do this.

Catherine:

And then they're, oh my gosh, we need to do something.

Catherine:

And number two, a lot of people won't get involved because they may not know how, or they may think that, is just a trend.

Catherine:

It'll go away.

Catherine:

But the legislation part is something that I've observed.

Catherine:

People weren't wanting to really recycle until suddenly now it's, if you have too much trash, you're going to be, charged extra.

Catherine:

Okay.

Catherine:

So now people go out and they get their recycling bin so that they can lower their trash.

Catherine:

I just think that more engagement and certainly the work that you've been doing is inspiring and hopefully other people around the world when they hear this will say, we need that.

Catherine:

Let's step up.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Okay.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I agree perfectly

Catherine:

Yeah.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

The legislation will make the uh, the legislation will be passed.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

It's some kind of some sometime some form of acceptance.

Catherine:

Yes.

Catherine:

And something that you also said that I found very important is just the fact that you are in eco design and just talking about things and moving forward so that the design of the product is going to be long lasting

Catherine:

And I think the rest of the world I just had on, a few weeks ago, , three people from Australia talking about their legislation, talking about their movement moving forward, and they, two of them.

Catherine:

Sit on the committee there in Australia it's not the ministry, but

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Yeah, I know them.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

They are called Karen and Dan.

Catherine:

Yeah, there you go.

Catherine:

Awesome people.

Catherine:

And they were joined by Leanne Wiseman who

Catherine:

understands the

Jean-Paul Ventere:

her.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I know how to,

Catherine:

okay, well, so she talked about the legal aspects worldwide.

Catherine:

unless there's already legislation like in France.

Catherine:

So obviously in France, it's going to impact the companies a little bit differently because you already have things set in place.

Catherine:

And now this year, When, is the European commission going?

Catherine:

You said this year?

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Yes.

Catherine:

Well, you're probably watching that very carefully.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

yeah, I can guess they're thinking it's just logical all the way.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

There will be requirements.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

You see, there, wouldn't be this mandatory repairability European index, but there will be more decided there would be requirements trying to grasp the,

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I prefer to say longevity rather than durability because in France you have these two meaning a long lifetime or sustainable.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So long lasting products.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

So, yes, there will be progress and positive impact in Europe soon.

Catherine:

Well, We're certainly going to look forward to that and the world will be watching and listening and hopefully then practicing what is being done out there with

Catherine:

And as you say, Saving mankind for future.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

I have been eco planning companies to anticipate, to, to, to make a simulation, to, to understand the methodology.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

This is also, it belongs to the same feeling, a feeling urgency.

Catherine:

Yes, you've been inspiring, but I always ask for those last inspiring words

Jean-Paul Ventere:

well, uh, we don't live in a virtual world,

Jean-Paul Ventere:

so let us expect tangible progress.

Catherine:

Well, Jean-Paul, your tangible progress

Catherine:

has certainly uh, put in motion, some wonderful legislation for France and upcoming European commission.

Catherine:

And I thank you so much for your work that you've done for design for eco products and moving forward with saving the planet in many different ways with the right to repair.

Catherine:

Thank you so much, Jean-Paul for being here on your positive imprint.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

Thank you very much also

Catherine:

Yeah.

Jean-Paul Ventere:

and Bravo for your work.

Catherine:

Uh, well, thank you so much.

Catherine:

And likewise.

Catherine:

There's lots of websites out there to learn more information on Jean-Paul's work.

Catherine:

But here are some of them to help you out.

Catherine:

repair.eu.

Catherine:

NextCity.org.

Catherine:

grist.org and that's G R I S T.

Catherine:

And then theenergymix.com.

Catherine:

And don't forget to follow, subscribe, or download this podcast.

Catherine:

Your positive imprint.