Smartphones Impacting the Environment

— June 11, 2014

A new report from Juniper Research has found that, mobile device production will generate over 115 million tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) per year by 2019. This level—equivalent to 60 years of flights from London Heathrow airport, or the annual emissions from 22.6 million cars—represents an increase of over 30% on the 2014 figure.
 
According to the report—Green Mobile: The Complete Guide to Vendor Strategies & Future Prospects 2014-2019—vendors have made progress on reducing their own carbon emissions but have not prioritized environmental sustainability to the extent required to drive their suppliers into action.
 
Supply Chain Woes
As vendors are directly responsible for less than 5% of overall production emissions, the report highlights the need to drive change across the whole value chain in order to achieve a significant net reduction across the whole industry.
 
With mobile network operators (MNOs) starting to unify their eco-ratings, and consumers able to quickly have vast amounts of product information at their fingertips, vendors cannot continue to hide bad practices in their supply chain.
 
The report demonstrates that the greatest reductions can be made in component manufactures. By encouraging component makers to improve energy efficiency and adopt more renewable energy sources, vendors could incentivize a potential 18.8 megaton decrease in GHG emissions.
 
Green Business is Good Business
Additionally, the report argued that with eco-ratings playing a larger part in product evaluations, the business imperatives for sustainability were impossible to ignore.
 
Other key findings include: Phone design has a large impact on recyclability, as certain design features make recycling uneconomical. Vendors must plan for the end to ensure they do not exacerbate the growing e-waste problem.
 
Plus, ICT lobbying of energy companies has had a positive impact on renewable energy adoption, and further action here could curb user-related emissions.

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