Laetitia Vasseur

Co-Founder and General Delegate of HOP

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Laetitia is spearheading a movement in France to create a “culture of durability” around consumer products and electronics, thereby reducing both damaging environmental waste and cost to consumers. She seeks to increase the lifespan of consumer goods, greatly increase their repairability, and end the practice of planned and premature obsolescence by manufacturers. Through her organization, “Stop Planned Obsolescence”, she is building a new mindset and creating the legal tools, corporate buy-in and citizen awareness to act on it. 



The goal of Halte à l’Obsolescence Programée (HOP) is to end the common industrial practice of planned pre-mature obsolescence, in which products are engineered with a limited lifespan, and/or rendered difficult, costly or impractical to repair. The design and manufacture of consumer goods comprises 80 percent of their environmental footprint. By increasing the durability of consumer products, making repairs possible and cost-effective, and challenging assumptions about the value of “newness,” HOP is working to transform French consumption habits. Laetitia is probing for large-scale change by asking companies and consumers to reconsider their part in the entire chain of production: How products are designed, manufactured, marketed, purchased, and cared for. In under a decade, Laetitia has scored big wins. She drafted and steered legislation through lengthy parliamentary maneuvering, succeeding in 2015 to make France the only country to outlaw planned and premature obsolescence. She successfully sued Apple for software upgrades that pushed owners to discard and replace their iPhones, landing Apple with a €25-million fine. Laetitia has also worked to institute a national “Repairability In-dex” which rates products on the ease and cost of their repair, which manufacturers and retailers must by law participate in and publicize. And HOP has won a small tax on manufacturers, who now must now pay to offset the costs of repairs for consumers. 

Tech Graveyard
Cases like the one brought against Apple highlight the hidden and highly damaging consequences of planned, premature obsolescence – in which companies engineer shorter product lifespans, make repair or parts inaccessible, or require software updates that render even recent models inefficient or useless.

Laetitia has accomplished this through skillful coalition building, creating a membership organization of around 70,000 citizens and 30 corporations. Using her experience in gathering allies, creating dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders, and her knowledge of legal and regulatory tools, Laetitia is now turning to Europe and the wider world. Already EU officials are moving to mandate a Repairability Index for manufacturers across the continent.  


Electronic devices have long since become ubiquitous.  Machines that once were too costly or complex to own are now everyday household items. And while consumer groups and regulators often ask corporations to ad-dress the environmental impact of manufacturing these goods, they have not focused on a product’s longevity or durability. Cases like the one brought against Apple high-light the hidden and highly damaging consequences of planned, premature obsolescence – in which companies engineer shorter product lifespans, make repair or parts inaccessible, or require software updates that render even recent models inefficient or useless.

Consumers and investors reward lower-cost goods, pushing companies to make and sell them as cheaply as possible, at the expense of a product’s shelf-life or repair-ability. This phenomenon has produced an explosion of so-called “e-waste” – growing by 5% annually, with only about 20% of discarded electronic items recycled. Faced with a broken smartphone, coffeemaker or video game device, most consumers are likely to replace, not repair. Indeed, only about ten percent of electrical and electronic equipment in France is repaired outside its warranty period.

While consumer protection groups are natural allies against this throwaway culture, they usually focus on product safety or usability, not on whether a device is likely to be engineered to expire or become prohibitive to fix. So even well-informed consumers aren’t cued to consider the environmental repercussions of replacing, not repairing, a broken device and are not armed with the knowledge needed to put pressure on companies to change their practices.

Before HOP’s interventions, no one in government or environmental advocacy had looked deeply at the lifecycle of consumer products and whether they were “designed to fail.” As a result, companies were not incentivized by the public or by law to make their products as long-last-ing and useful as possible, and consumers have had neither the awareness nor the tools to challenge this.  

Laeticia has accomplished to spearhead her movement for a “culture of durability” through skillful coalition building, creating a membership organization of around 70,000 citizens and 30 corporations.


Laetitia upended these long-standing patterns. First, she created a more demanding and empowered consumer body. Through HOP, she has equipped citizen-consumers with the knowledge and tactics to become change-makers. Regulatory and retail changes followed, creating global precedents.  

She focuses on three target groups to maximize HOP’s reach: (1) Public authorities, with whom Laetitia uses her understanding of policy and advocacy to help shape and pass new laws; (2) consumers, with whom HOP shares information that drive activism; and (3) manufacturers and distributors, with whom HOP shares data and investigates new economic models to disrupt planned obsolescence. 

"HOP is now a major force.”

L'Ecole de Paris

HOP has bridged all three groups by convening dialogues and collaborations with consumers, regulators, experts, environmental COs, and corporations themselves, orchestrating collective investment in reducing environmental waste. Laetitia recognizes the necessity of finding “buy-in” for her ideas, by seeking input and participation from all players and sharing power and credit. Rather than bringing a “blame and shame” approach to corporations, she recognizes that, as a citizen group, advocating for business regulation is more powerful if done in partnership with companies. She has enlisted their in-put and their participation across numerous platforms small and large. 

Yet when needed, she has not hesitated to initiate class-action lawsuits against businesses like Apple and Epson, gathering thousands of user testimonials and leveraging the media visibility of such actions to build steady pressure on the corporate world, to keep the topic of obsolescence on the public agenda, and to attract new consumers to the movement. 

"Apple had agreed to pay 25 million euros ($27.4 million) for failing to tell iPhone users that software updates could slow down older devices…after French prosecutors opened an inquiry in January 2018 at the request of the Halt Planned Obsolescence (HOP) association.”

France 24

Laetitia’s work also addresses the entire product supply and sales chain. Drawing on HOP’s expertise and credibility, she has created a “Durability Club.”  Participation offers a company a “halo effect” as being environmentally responsible, as well as practical support for early adopters. Beyond manufacturers, Laetitia has enlisted distributors like the large French electronic retailer FNAC-DARTY; the home-improvement company Leroy-Merlin; and smaller repair companies and second-hand retailers.

HOP also proposed and successfully lobbied for a small tax on manufacturers to offset the costs of repair for consumers, by convening a working group of manufacturers, sellers, repair shops, and an allied NGO, and obtaining their agreement to the tax. She and they then moved to the proposal through government channels until it passed in 2020 as part of a law on the circular economy and zero waste. When the government was slow to implement or publicize the repair fund, Laetitia pressured them by organizing a Durability Summit and inviting the Ministry of Ecology to open the event and discuss the fund’s progress. Finally put into place in December 2022, in the first few months the fund helped pay for 21,000 product repairs, a small number Laetitia anticipates will jump considerably when HOP soon holds the first “National Repair Days” in France with 800 events around France. HOP is also organizing and financing a large advertising campaign targeting some 7 million consumers, aiming for 1% of those reached to repair at least one object, avoiding 3,527,676.5 kg of CO2.

Laetitia is expanding her reach well beyond France, work-ing since 2016 with different European Union divisions to create the EU’s mandatory repair index and help them implement it. In 2018, she organized a conference and testified about this work in Québec, which later adopted a law against planned obsolescence. She has testified on behalf of France at the G-7; and delivered HOP’s research at international conferences in Berlin, Stockholm, and Montréal. She is in the process of developing an international coalition to reproduce the progress France has made in larger consumer nations.

In this way she and HOP are acting as “eco-system” builders, demonstrating that a durability movement, and the necessary changes to mindset and processes along the chain of production, are possible and in fact may provide reputational and business advantages. 

By gathering and publicizing consumer sentiment; pairing buyers, regulators, advocates, and corporations in dialogue and collaboration; shaping and passing new regulatory laws; and creating watchdog structures like the Repairability Index and supporting groups like the Durability Club, Laetitia and HOP are developing the collective vision, tools and public empowerment needed to bring systemic change to consumer culture. 


Laetitia’s path to consumer activism was inspired, literally, by a lightbulb moment. In an early job as a staff assistant to a member of Parliament, she watched a documentary called The Light Bulb Conspiracy (in French, Prêt à Jeter or “ready to throw away”) that exposed the corporate practice of intentionally limiting a product’s useful life to maintain or boost sales. The film closed with an appeal to change the law, something Laetitia felt powerfully motivated to do. She hadn’t heard of planned obsolescence, but she was outraged that consumers were being manipulated into consuming more – wasting their money and the environment’s resources. It was a sentiment she’d experienced earlier during college studies in economics and social management. As a young woman from a financially modest background, she perceived these techniques as unjust, as they required people of limited means to spend unnecessarily. 

Working in Parliament, in 2013, she persuaded her boss to let her investigate planned obsolescence. She led fact-finding missions and worked across ministries and with legal experts to bring the topic to political notice. She drafted the original legislation outlawing planned obsolescence, and when that failed to pass in one parliamentary body, reshaped the proposals for the other, delivering the amendments that French officials would eventually pass as law. 

In 2014 she left the government to travel to Asia, wishing to explore other collaborative economic initiatives. When she returned to France a year later, the law against planned obsolescence had passed, and Laetitia realized it was just one part of a much larger issue regarding consumption habits. She also knew that a law without teeth would be of little consequence, so she identified a role for herself in setting up a larger regulatory framework. This led her to create and grow HOP. Through HOP, she has catalyzed other stakeholders to work collectively across private and public sectors, crucially centering the citizen-as-consumer in calling for and initiating change. She’s earned praise from her peers for her impact, vision, and leadership in making France a pioneer in ending planned and premature obsolescence, curbing consumption, and reducing environmental waste.

"HOP, founded … to battle against the concept of planned manufacturing obsolescence, [was] the first to take up the cudgel.” 


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