Eco Rating, Vodafone wants to help you identify the "greenest" products

Eco Rating, Vodafone wants to help you identify the greenest products

Eco Rating

Vodafone, together with four other mobile phone operators in Europe, today presented Eco Rating, the new labeling system for ecological evaluation that aims to help consumers choose and compare the most sustainable smartphones and feature phones. At the same time, Eco Rating wants to encourage suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of their products.

Eco Rating was born from the collaboration between Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica (which operates through the O2 and Movistar brands), Telia Company, some of the largest and most influential European telephone operators, and Vodafone, the only telco on the list to also operate in Italy.

The idea is to assign a score to each smartphone and feature phone based on the environmental impact of production, use, transport and disposal, so that during retail this information is presented in an accurate and consistent manner to final consumers.

Vodafone has announced that the 'initiative will start with the labeling of new phones produced by 12 different manufacturers including: Bullit Group (CAT and Motorola rugged), Doro, HMD Global (Nokia), Huawei, MobiWire, Lenovo / Motorola, OnePlus, Samsung, TCL / Alcatel, Xiaomi and ZTE. More brands will follow in the future.

How does Eco Rating work? Simple, the score assigned on a scale of 100 points is decided through the information provided by the device manufacturers, applying an evaluation methodology based on 19 different criteria in a "fair and objective" way. Complementing this score is further information on five key aspects:

Durability: the robustness of the device, the battery life and the warranty period of the device and its components. Repairability: The ease with which the device can be repaired, also considering the design of the phone and support activities that could increase its useful life and improve its repairability, reusability and potential upgrade. A higher score indicates greater attention to these aspects. Recyclability: this criterion evaluates the degree of recoverability and disassembly of the device components, the information provided by the manufacturers and the degree of recyclability of the materials. Climate efficiency: the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the device over its entire life cycle. The higher the score, the lower the impact on the climate. Resource efficiency: this criterion evaluates the impact caused by the amount of scarce raw materials required by the device (eg. The gold necessary for the production of electronic parts) in relation to the exhaustion of these resources; the higher the score, the less impact on the availability of materials will be. The operators who created Eco Ratings will begin introducing the new rating system in 24 different European countries starting from June 2021. More information can be found on the website dedicated to the initiative.

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New 'Eco Rating' will measure environmental impact of your smartphone

a close up of a sign: Eco Rating © Provided by TechRadar Eco Rating

Five of Europe’s largest mobile operators have created a new ‘eco-rating’ labelling scheme that will allow consumers to compare the environmental impact of a particular smartphone and encourage manufacturers to make their products more sustainable.

Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telia and Vodafone will all display a score out of 100 alongside devices from 12 manufacturers at the point of sale.

This score calculates the cost of producing, using, transporting and disposing the device and is based on five key criteria.

Durability takes into account the robustness, battery life, and guaranteed period of a handset, while repairability and recyclability measure how easy it is to fix and to recover device components.

Climate efficiency is based on the greenhouse gas emissions of the device throughout its entire life cycle, while resource efficiency assesses the impact caused by the scarce raw materials that many devices require.

The labelling will come into effect next month in 24 countries where at least one of the operators’ involved has a presence.

“Building a more sustainable future is our joint responsibility, so we believe the time is right to drive a harmonised, industry-wide Eco Rating Scheme that will improve transparency and help raise awareness of the environmental impact of the phones that our customers choose,” the CEOs of the companies said in a joint-statement.

“We look forward to welcoming more manufacturers and telecoms operators to the Eco Rating initiative in the future, and we hope it will inspire the whole industry to accelerate its transition towards a more circular model for mobile phones.”

The issue of sustainability is an increasingly important one within the industry as every new device manufactured generates carbon emissions across the supply chain and requires the mining of precious metals.

If these devices aren’t resold, recycled, or are disposed of irresponsibly, then emissions will rise, waste will increase and hazardous materials could be released into the environment.

The twelve manufacturers that have signed up are Bullitt Group, which makes CAT and Motorola rugged phones, Doro, HMD Global (which makes Nokia phones under licence), Huawei, MobiWire, Motorola/Lenovo, OnePlus, Oppo, Samsung, TCL/Alcatel, Xiaomi and ZTE. Apple is the major absentee, meaning iPhones won’t be included in the scheme.

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