25 November 2022
What: Activists carrying a 5’ high iPhone bearing the message “Don’t fall for the iCon”
Where: Apple Store, Regent St, London W1B 2EL
When: Friday 25 November, 10am-12pm
Contact: Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns and Communications; email@example.com; 0208 123 9170 (in advance); 0780 165 4011 (on the day)
As part of its “iCon” campaign challenging Apple’s marketing policies and environmental impact, activists from campaigning charity Population Matters will stage a photo opportunity at Apple’s famous London store this Black Friday. They will carry a 5’ (170cm) high foam board ‘smartphone’ prop, with its screen bearing the message “Don’t fall for the iCon: upgrade your home, not your phone” over a picture of the Earth. The event also marks annual Buy Nothing Day, which encourages consumers to reflect on their consumption.
The campaign is intended to highlight the damaging consequences of overconsumption, with a focus on Apple’s marketing model of regular upgrades to encourage people to buy new products when existing ones already serve their needs. While recognising that Apple is taking a number of positive measures to reduce its environmental impact, the campaign identifies how high volume smartphone production causes negative environmental effects, including through extraction and processing of elements such as copper and aluminium, and the energy, emissions, water and infrastructure impacts associated with product manufacture, distribution and disposal, including recycling and e-waste.
Population Matters’ Head of Campaigns Alistair Currie said:
“Everyone likes a Black Friday deal, but we need to be asking whether what we’re buying is what we really need. It’s absolutely right to challenge the destructive activities of traditional environmental campaign targets like fossil fuel companies, but we’ve also got to go deeper. Apple may not have the usual face, record or reputation of an environmental villain but it is feeding a cycle of consumption that is killing our planet. That’s the iCon we’re talking about: not Apple or any other company deceiving us about their environmental activities or what they’re selling, but persuading us we need something we don’t.”
The iCon campaign calls on Apple not to release a new iPhone until at least 2025, to ensure that operating systems continue working for older models, and to do more to promote reuse, repair, and recycling. The campaign calls on consumers to upgrade their phones less often or only when necessary, and encourages them to buy second-hand and recycle whenever possible.
The Black Friday action is part of Population Matters’ wider We Don’t Buy It campaign, which challenges overconsumption in high-income countries. The campaign’s name reflects its key goals: to reject the conventional wisdom that more consumer activity and economic growth is good for us; encourage individuals to moderate their consumption; and challenge the social, economic and marketing pressures that encourage us all to consume excessively.
Population Matters is a UK-based charity working globally to achieve a sustainable future for people and planet. Our mission is to drive positive, large-scale action through fostering choices that help achieve a sustainable human population and regenerate our environment.
50 Westminster Bridge road
Charity no: 1114109