Today we launch the first ever eco rating system for mobile phones in the UK. The question many people will probably ask is does anyone really care about this? Compared with price, function and looks, how do green factors stack up when deciding what phone to buy?
We’re pretty realistic that when it comes to buying a new mobile phone most people will make their decision on how much it costs, what it looks like or maybe because they like the brand. But we also know that an increasing number of our customers want to know the full picture when it comes to how much social or environmental impact a mobile phone has. Our research shows that 44% of our customers say environmental factors have some impact on their mobile phone purchase and for 12% they have a very strong impact.
If a washing machine can have a green rating, why shouldn’t a mobile phone? You could argue that a washing machine has a much higher environmental impact but consider how many more mobile phones are sold each year (over 1700 every minute in the UK alone!). In fact, the combined carbon footprint of all the mobile phones in the world is the equivalent of taking every car and HGV in the UK off the road and grounding domestic flights for a year.
So mobile phones do have an environmental impact and more and more of our customers want to know about this. Eco rating will not only show this but also give customers an easy to understand, complete view of every aspect of a phone’s sustainability, including how ethical the manufacturer’s supply chain is and an indication of how the device can help customers live more sustainable lives (i.e. by replacing their need to have a additional products such as an MP3 player or camera).
We don’t expect the majority of customers to decide what mobile to buy purely on the basis of this sustainability rating but for the first time it does give people who care about this the information to make an informed choice. And if a customer is torn between what mobile to buy, maybe a higher eco rating will tip the balance in that phone’s favour.
To find out more about eco rating, visit www.o2.co.uk/thinkbig