Skip to main content

Reconciling the right to use information and communications technologies (ICTs) with the right to live in a healthy, fair world, in a safe space for humanity and the planet, can pose challenges. The extractivism associated with ICTs, their remanufacturing, use (and abuse), and recycling (often premature) continue, despite eco-efficiency, beyond the social and environmental limits of the planet.

The environmental footprint of the linear ICT economy continues to grow. However, the International Telecommunication Union warns us that by 2030, it is urgent to have reduced the environmental footprint by half compared to 2015 levels. Moreover, the conditions in which the devices and the materials and parts used to produce them are mined and manufactured are fraught with violations.

At the same time, the digital divide, evidenced even more clearly during COVID-19, leaves nearly four billion people without the same options to exercise their rights as those with access to the digital world.

Bearing this in mind, if you need a new device (PC, mobile phone, etc.), what can you do to get it without aggravating the problem instead of contributing to remedying it? You can choose to consider environmental and socioeconomic considerations and base your selection on a circular perspective. This guide provides an overview of some basic notions to make your choice more ethical, sustainable and caring, using the case of a computer as an example.

This guide was produced with the support of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) through a subgrant made possible by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Read the full guide here.