Industry drives new eco-rating scheme for mobile devices

Experts attending last week’s ITU Green Standards Week have called for a new, globally aligned eco-rating scheme for mobile devices. The proposed eco-rating scheme would extend across networks, manufacturers and national boundaries and empower consumers to make informed purchasing decisions based on a standardized assessment of a mobile phone’s environmental impact.

Organizations working with ITU’s Standardization Sector on the new scheme include device makers Alcatel-Lucent, Apple, BlackBerry, Fujitsu, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung, operators AT&T, Orange, KPN, Telefónica and Vodafone, and industry partners including the GSMA.

For industry, the new scheme will mark a simplification of the process of gathering and processing eco-efficiency information. For consumers, it will provide an easy-to-understand, credible rating that allows them to choose mobile devices with a lower environmental impact.

Criteria under consideration in the development of the new scheme include carbon footprint; battery life; the use of certain chemicals and rare metals; packaging; and recyclability, among others. The standard will be developed prioritizing principles such as lifecycle assessment, simplicity, transparency, feasibility and verifiability.

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General, ITU: “Consumers are increasingly looking to make sustainable purchasing decisions. A key problem has been a bewildering array of eco-rating schemes. I applaud this initiative that will drive green innovation and allow us all to make informed decisions when we purchase mobile devices.”

Francisco Montalvo, Global Director of Devices, Telefónica: “Telefónica uses environmental criteria including energy consumption, CO2 emissions and recyclability to evaluate and select devices, but we have found great difficulty with the absence of a common methodology for each manufacturer to report details on their devices. There is clearly a strong need for a common framework to enable industrial implementation.”

Green Standards Week, an annual event designed to raise awareness of the importance and opportunities of using ICT standards to build a green economy, is organized by ITU and was hosted and sponsored this year by Telefónica. The event gathered experts from across a range of disciplines to examine standardization for green ICTs, and in particular focused on the issues of smart cities and e-waste.

Experts worked on an agreed definition of a ‘smart sustainable city’, which will be necessary to align international standardization and other legal documents referring to the topic. This topic will be progressed in ITU’s Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities whose participants include representatives of many municipalities around the world.

Source: ITU

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