Patrick Chaize co-drafted the Continent’s first bill to tackle the tech sector’s environmental impact. Quietly adopted by senators in January, the text made massive waves when it hit the French lower house in the spring.
Chaize first became a senator in 2014. He’s a member of conservative party Les Républicains, which holds the majority in the Senate, and is identified as an expert on tech and telecoms issues in the upper house. A critic of the country’s leading telecoms operator Orange, one of his main political battles is to ensure that rural areas have high-speed internet coverage.
In October last year, the French senator put forward a bill to discourage consumers and companies from frequently upgrading smartphones — the aim being to lower the tech and telecoms industry’s carbon footprint.
He included a specific provision to exempt refurbished electronic devices from the “private copying levy” — a compensation scheme paid to creators, publishers and producers on the sale of hardware.
By trying to boost the nascent refurbishing sector, Chaize drew the ire of France’s powerful cultural industry. His bill, unnoticed at first, triggered one of the fiercest lobbying battles on a national tech-related text in years when it went to the National Assembly. The prime minister’s office eventually sided with the cultural industry and MPs followed suit.
But the story is not over. The bill theoretically has to go back to the Senate, and Chaize said in June he would “look at the plus and minus [of the text], and find the right solution to be able to move the text forward or not.”
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS YEAR: How ambitious the final bill on the tech sector’s environmental impact is — and whether it will survive.
WHAT’S THEIR SUPERPOWER: He’s not tied down. Outside Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche, he doesn’t have to do what the government says.
INFLUENCE SCORE: 17/30
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)