Back in 2010 we launched Eco Rating to help our customers make greener choices when it comes time to upgrade their phone. But how are Eco Ratings judged – what makes a phone more friendly to the environment? Helen from our testing team tells us all about it…

How does Eco Rating work?
Our Eco Rating tells you how sustainable a phone is, from the day it’s manufactured to the very last day it’s used. The score is out of 5 and it’s based on a manufacturer’s business practices and ethics, manufacturing, efficiency, packaging and recyclability. The higher the score the better!

How have scores changed since Eco Rating launched?
When we started Eco Rating the average score phones were getting was 2.9. It’s now risen to 3.6 – Eco Rating has helped drive incredible change within our industry. Our manufacturer partners have really risen to the challenge, especially on how they package their phones, the substances used and their corporate responsibility.

What’s changed with phone packaging?
The manufacturers have been working to remove unnecessary packaging like plastic bags and ties – they’ve also made the manuals smaller and found alternative ways to make them available like online or installed on the phone. All these things mean phone boxes have got smaller and use better materials. This in turn means more can fit into one package and reduce the carbon footprint of transporting phones.

And substances?
Our manufacturers have always complied with UK and EU legislation, but at O2 we’ve encouraged them to go one step further. They’ve been removing some substances that, while not hazardous, could be replaced by something more environmentally friendly. Most manufacturers now have a clear statement on their site talking about this challenge and what they’re doing to meet it.

What’s corporate responsibility and what’s being done?
Corporate responsibility covers a wide range of things like employees’ age and welfare and investing in the company’s local community. It also covers using renewable, recycled and recyclable materials where possible and setting targets to lower their waste. All of our manufacturers have improved on this score since Eco Rating started.

What’s changing this year?
Making our phones more sustainable is something we take really seriously so we’re continuing to work with our manufacturers on what else we can do individually. For instance, we’re planning to not include chargers with new phones in the near future – most phones now use the same charger so you’re very likely to have at least one in the house! This means phones can fit through letterboxes more easily – no more wasted delivery trips! That’s good for both us and the environment.

Thanks Helen – to see what Eco Rating your favourite phone scored visit our site or your nearest O2 store. Got a burning question about Eco Rating or any of our Tester Diary topics? Send us a comment or a tweet and we’ll answer it in a future diary!

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