Environmentally conscious O2 and Vodafone customers can compare the green credentials of mobile devices following the operators’ joint launch of an eco-rating system.
The operators worked with sustainability group Forum for the Future and used feedback from other operators and manufacturers to create the rating system.
Dubbed Eco Rating 2.0, it provides a standardised score so that consumers can make informed decisions based on comparable sustainability ratings, irrespective of device make or network provider.
Mobile devices are rated from zero to five based on manufacturers’ answers to a number of questions, which cover information on the lifecycle of devices, responsible design features and manufacturing choices.
Further questions evaluate the material composition of the devices, the efficiency of their transport, their longevity, and the ways they enable more sustainable lifestyles.
Forum for the Future said that, although some manufacturers and network providers have reported the social and environmental impacts of devices before, there has never been a comparison tool based on independent research available to consumers before.
EcoVadis, which operates the leading supply chain sustainability rating network, has contributed sustainability scorecards on manufacturers, which are incorporated in overall Eco Rating 2.0 device ratings.
It replaces separate ratings previously used by O2 and Vodafone. EE is set to adopt the system in 2015, the Forum said.
Sally Uren, CEO at Forum for the Future, said: ‘The cross-network compatibility of Eco Rating 2.0 speaks so much of common sense, and is a great example of the potential for change when collaborating on shared challenges.
‘Eco Rating 2.0 answers the demand from consumers for transparency on their purchases, in part driven by the strong personal connection people have to their mobile devices. A common understanding of the sustainability issues surrounding the manufacture, retail and use of mobile devices goes a long way in driving change – both in consumer awareness and in the future design and social impact of mobile devices.’
Bill Eyres, head of sustainability at O2, said: ‘We know that our customers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the technology they buy. We see Eco Rating 2.0 is the first step in the journey towards an industry standard, building on the pioneering work we carried out with Forum for the Future to bring this innovation to market in 2010. We believe this kind of product transparency will ultimately help empower consumers to make more informed and greener choices.’
Patrick Chomet, group terminals director at Vodafone, said: ‘We want to empower our customers to make more informed decisions and the Eco Rating scheme does just that. It’s an easy way for our customer to understand and compare the sustainability credentials of a wide range of mobile phones.’