Green Century Pushed Microsoft to Extend Security Support to Prevent E-Waste
Douglass Guernsey, Shareholder Advocate, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-747-4447
Pam Podger, Communications Director, email@example.com, 802-299-9495
(Boston, MA) – After engagement with Green Century°, Microsoft Corporation* announced it would extend Windows 10 security updates (ESU) for organizations of all sizes, including schools, the public sector, and for the first time, individuals. Microsoft will provide security updates options to devices using Windows 10 past their End of Support (EOS) date of October 14, 2025.
“Your computer shouldn’t become trash just because it can’t get a security update,” said Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Funds. “Microsoft’s move may save vital institutions like hospitals and schools billions of dollars and could prevent millions of functioning computers from becoming toxic e-waste.”
An estimated 330-400 million devices may not be able to upgrade from Windows 10 because of hardware requirements. Microsoft planned End of Support (EOS) date could lead users to dispose of Windows devices which are not eligible to upgrade because of security concerns.
Reports brought to light and campaigns by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) have suggested that the End of Support for Windows 10 could cause the single biggest jump in junked computers ever.
Microsoft’s new Extended Security Update (ESU) program will cost a fee, the details of which will be released at a later date. The plan for commercial customers such as schools, the public sector, and small and mid-sized businesses will be available for three years. The consumer plan will be available initially for one year.
Microsoft’s commitment is a good step forward, but the cost of the program could be a barrier to access and remains an issue.
Critics are concerned that the undisclosed cost of ESUs may limit access to the ESU plan and thus reduce the program’s positive environmental impact. Experts suggest that 33% of computers using Windows 10 will not be able to update to Windows 11 because of hardware requirements. This could lead users to discard their devices prematurely out of concern for performance issues and exposure to security risks, which in turn will cause otherwise working computers to end up in landfills. E-waste is the fastest growing form of waste, yet only a small percentage of it is recycled.
“Microsoft is clearly thinking about its long-term environmental impact by extending critical security updates beyond the End of Support of Windows 10,” said Douglass Guernsey, shareholder advocate at Green Century. “Now the company should make these important updates as widely accessible – and affordable – as possible.”
The vast majority of the environmental impact of electronics comes not from electricity use, but the carbon and materials needed to produce the equipment. Extending the life of consumer electronics is the best way to cut down on the environmental footprint of the industry. According to the World Economic Forum, extending the lifespan of phones from three to four years could reduce the number of phones sent to waste by 25%.
About Green Century Funds
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are one of the first families of fossil fuel-free, environmentally responsible mutual funds. Green Century hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is the only mutual fund company in the U.S. wholly owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations.
*As of 9.30.2023, Microsoft Corporation comprised 4.48%, 11.67%, and 0.00% of Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund respectively. As of the same date, other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios of any of the Green Century Funds. References to specific securities, which will change due to ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
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