Though the high price of this technology makes it fairly inaccessible, it does have a long life-cycle and therefore is sustainable in that less are thrown into landfill each year. It does have many beneficial features for tracking health, and it uses a very small amount of packaging and ingredients in general. I do wish the company was more transparent and am unsure about trustworthiness of a large company like Google, and it seems as though they do not have sustainability on the forefront of their mind when making these Fitbit watches.
The band is made of a “flexible, durable material” made from polyester, and it has an aluminum buckle. The casing is made with stainless steel, and all of these products overall have long life-cycles and can be recycled or reused, but only when separated, which is likely difficult for any facility and there is very little information on the reusability of Fitbits. They also do emit EMF radiation like many other technology gadgets, which can be harmful but is not uncommon.
Fitbit has a “supplier code of conduct” with a supply chain transparency statement, which many companies do not address and I appreciate. They state that their process of making all their products is in conduct with “The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 and the United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act” which require disclosure of supply chain and ensures that they will use “efforts to eradicate” human trafficking and slavery. This is a great statement, but it does not necessarily mean that they do not use these in their supply chain, only that they need to make an effort to eradicate them, which likely means they were present in the first place, and there is no transparency regarding if this effort was made and how great it is.
Something that I appreciate is the ethical page and environmental page that Fitbit has on their website, alongside claims of good working conditions. They are not transparent about their exact processes of manufacturing, but do state that the suppliers that Fitbit uses must meet their environmental standards in regards to permits and reporting, pollution and resource reduction, hazardous substances, waste management, air emissions, and water and energy consumption. This is a big step for a large company like Fitbit or Google, but simply acknowledging these things is not enough to ensure a consumer that these actions are being done.
Google now owns Fitbit, though the original team has 11 members, 2 of whom are women, and they are mostly white. Their headquarters are in San Francisco, and it seems their team has taken a strong stance in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement recently, though this could just be a corporate strategy as there is little evidence of any incorporation of this into their actual brand or product.