DIF ON DEMAND PLATE Presents: Ever-faster, Ever-shorter… Is Planned Obsolescence Real?

University session

  • Add to Calendar 09/11/2017 09:00 09/11/2017 09:30 Europe/London PLATE Presents: Ever-faster, Ever-shorter… Is Planned Obsolescence Real? - DIF 2017 Online at thinkdif.co Ellen MacArthur Foundation no-reply@ellenmacarthurfoundation.org false DD/MM/YYYY

The Disruptive Innovation Festival is an online festival of ideas that asks the question: what if we could redesign everything? During the DIF, we’ll be asking our speakers to tell us what they think is in store for the future of the economy. While watching you can chip in with your thoughts and questions: sign up for a free My DIF account and ask your question through the discussion forum below the live stream!

The PLATE2017 Conference aims to address product lifetimes in the context of sustainability; bringing together over 100 academic researchers with a shared interest in tackling the detrimental effect of our consumption through product longevity. An increase in product lifetimes and a move to a more circular economy are increasingly recognised as essential elements in resource efficiency, waste reduction and low carbon strategies for sustainability.

Planned obsolescence is a policy of designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, in order to stimulate replacement purchases. Planned obsolescence is forbidden by law in France. But, does planned obsolescence really exist? Are product lifetimes actually decreasing? Are manufacturers part of an ‘evil conspiracy’ to accelerate product replacements? Or is there a different story to be told?

In this first of three sessions from the PLATE Conference, Walter Stahel will track down and speak to a host of PLATE2017 speakers with expertise in product lifetimes and planned obsolescence.

Join Walter at the PLATE Conference again for the session Take Care to Repair.

Get involved!

You can join other DIF attendees and share your thoughts and questions. Simply create a free My DIF profile to start the conversation!


Kirsi Niinimaki

Kirsi is Associate Professor in Fashion research in Aalto University. Her research focuses on holistic understanding of sustainable fashion and textile fields and connections between design, manufacturing, business models and consumption.
In Aalto University Kirsi runs the Fashion/Textile Futures research group. The research group is involved in several significant research projects, which integrate closed loop, bio-economy and circular economy approaches in fashion and textile systems. Kirsi has also been a visiting researcher in TU Delft and TU Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Oklahoma State University in the USA and in EWHA University in South-Korea.

Harald Wieser

Harald is a doctoral researcher at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester. Having completed a research project on the service life of various durable goods in Austria, his current research focuses on the historical evolution of replacement cycles of mobile phones in the UK.

Melanie Jaeger-Erben

Melanie is a Psychologist and Sociologist with research interests in the fields of sustainable consumption, material culture, social innovation and transformation in society and everyday life. She works as co-leader of the research area "Land use and consumption patterns" at the Center for Technology and Society (Technische Universität Berlin) and leads among others the inter- and transdisciplinary research group “Obsolescence as a challenge for Sustainable Consumption - Causes and Alternatives”.

Erik Poppe

Erik Poppe is life cycle analyst and researcher at SUSTAINUM – Institute for sustainable economy in Berlin. Currently he is engaged in the research project LOiPE – Longevity and Obsolescence in product development. He is corporation partner of the Component Obsolescence Group (COG) Germany and a member of the coordination team of the German Round Table Repair.

Anouk Zeeuw van der Laan

Anouk Zeeuw van der Laan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Design Engineering at Imperial College London. She received her BSc and MSc degrees in Industrial Design Engineering from Delft University of Technology where she focussed her MSc thesis on material design and characterisation. She worked in the FMCGs industry in continuous improvement, procurement and R&D packaging, before starting her PhD. Her research interests evolve around materials, FMCGs and the circular economy.


Walter R. Stahel

Walter has been founder-director of the Product-Life Institute (Geneva, Switzerland), the oldest established consultancy in Europe devoted to developing sustainable strategies and policies, since 1983. From 1986 to 2014, he was also director of risk management research of the Geneva Association. In 1971, he graduated from ETH Zurich with an MA in architecture; he has been a full member of the Club of Rome since 2013.

Walter has been visiting professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences of the University of Surrey since 2005, as well as the l’Institut EDDEC de Université, HEC et Polytechnique de Montréal in 2016. He was awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees by the University of Surrey (2013) and l’Université de Montréal (2016).

Walter has also written a number of renowned publications, most notably: ‘Jobs for Tomorrow, the Potential for Substituting Manpower for Energy’ (1981) and ‘The Performance Economy’ (2010).

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