With the exception of laptops, much of the progress in recent years in consumer products has been miniscule. The printer still works the same, they just slap an LCD screen on it to show ink levels and Wifi signal strength for an extra price. Grinders are still the same in features and price. TVs offer 5 different LED panel options to make you feel insecure if you settle for less. For all this talk of climate-conscious product companies, many products simply aren't built to last – they are built and designed to be outdated or outworn in a shorter time-span. Every consumer durables company now envisions having at least one value-add product that lets them eek out incrementally higher margins from your pocket for decades.
If you were to place a 2-year old DLED and QLED TV side-by-side, I truly doubt you'd be able to discern which one does a good job with dark scenes and saturation. What you can somewhat guarantee is that neither would last beyond ~6 years.
Climate-focused policies have a great chance to strike a balance between consumer protection and what's good for the environment, and yet, policies focus on doing the least bit that would disturb the supply-side economics. We have the 5-star energy rating thing that has been helpful in moving customers to make smarter energy choices for appliances they buy. If only we could extend that activism to durability and service part guarantees – to save the environment.
Some cheer when adapters and plastics aren't in packs to meet their corporate carbon neutral and environmental goals (for advertising to consumers and/or investors), but when the product itself has nowhere to go but a landfill and a larger volume of the primary product is consumed and thrown away, where's the win? These policies ought to have been customer-friendly and deathly hostile to corporations of a certain size. Right now, caring for the environment is simply a margin lever — an excuse to push value-added consumption where the added value isn't even for the consumer.
Consumers should have had access to as many plastic straws as they need, it's Coca Cola and Pepsi with filter vending machines that should've borne the responsibility of recycling. At present, no one really knows if or how recycling of products actually takes place, and the efficacy of segregating dry and wet waste in Mumbai or if that has had any impact. The outcome of policy decisions is seldom revealed.
It's good to see sports stadia across the country have solar panels, but it will be interesting to see their net energy costs over time – not just absolute savings from not using the grid. Maintenance from harsh weather and particulate dust unique to our side of the world. How often do panels need replacing? For solar panel degradation and depletion of absorption over time, what systems are in place to measure and alert on efficacy of aging solar cells? And maintenance for the controller, the tech upgrades? The net expense and savings over time, I suspect, would not be as glorious as some corporates project in their annual reports. Right now, caring for the environment is just a few pages to fill in corporate annual reports and boxes to tick for bleeding-heart corporate board members.