Although the ultra-thin and chic design makes this product a easy-to-carry accessory for an iPad and an iPhone, the unrepairable nature significantly eliminates its product life-cycle and would soon turn it into one of the million tons of e-waste produced every year. I am concerned about the accelerating tech device economy, so a peripheral like this wireless keyboard further alarms me regarding the unsustainable production rate and the prevailing consumerism culture. However, at the cooperate level, Logitech has done a very good job in terms of transparency and commitment to minimize its environmental footprint. Its new carbon impact label not only incentivizes itself to reduce carbon footprint, but also reminds tech consumers, whose top concerns are likely not sustainability, to take into consideration of the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions.
No specific material list is readily available on the website but based on observation, the keyboard generally needs a lithium-ion battery, a transmitter, some rubber and plastic like outer cover, and a complimentary plastic attachable stand. This product is labeled with a California Proposition 65 warning, which indicates that it contains certain carcinogen at levels that exceed regulatory standard, but usually does not lead to significant risk. But instead of the specific materials that made up this product, I am more concerned about the product design itself. Tech accessories like this one has followed the trend in consumer electronics. With shorter product life cycle, the accelerated consumption has caused numerous e-waste in landfills. The lithium batteries, along with other heavy metals in the products, pose significant environmental risk when accumulated together. The ultra-thin design eliminates the possibility for any easy repairs or replacement of parts, which significantly limits its product life cycle. Additionally, this product is most likely going to be paired with easy-to-carry devices, such as an iphone or an ipad. They are likely to be replaced within several years as companies continuously release newer faster “better” models, so people might just as well buy a newer faster “better” keyboard along with the new devices. I am concerned about this product as it is a tangential aspect of the accelerating tech device life cycle and totally does not address the e-waste problems.
Most products of Logitech are manufactured in-house, which means that the company have a fuller control of its production practice. Located in Suzhou, China, the manufacturing facilities have integrated environmental management system and continuously met the occupational health & safety standard. In 2020, the company claimed that 88% of the electricity consumed comes from a renewable energy source while the company has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030. What impressed me the most is Logitech’s commitment to carbon transparency. They have started to provide carbon impact labels on product packaging across their entire portfolio to help consumers. Its serious commitment to climate mitigation also subtly remind consumers to evaluate the environmental impact of their potential purchases. I am very happy to see a big company that avoided the pitfall of green washing and make tangible progress toward sustainability.
Known for their high quality tech accessories and telecommunication devices, Logitech has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to advance in the video conferencing market. Especially during the COVID pandemic when demand of video conferences significantly increased, Logitech has showed a strong business performance. The increase in revenue can allow the company to work with more resources and commit to more sustainable actions. So far I am fairly satisfied with the company’s overall effort to reduce its environmental impact, but as it is projected to further grow with more business opportunities, I am raising my expectation next time and would want to see more progress in the next five years.