• Research commissioned by O2 reveals 75 per cent of 18-24 year olds would consider buying a new phone with better green credentials than a rival handset
  • While battery life is the most important feature for Brits, almost 30 per cent believe a phone’s recyclability is key when exploring their next purchase
  • O2 customers can now see the new Eco Rating of mobile phones they’re looking to purchase online at www.o2.co.uk


24 June 2021, LONDON: Over half (56 per cent) of environmentally-aware Brits say it’s important that the next mobile phone they buy is eco-friendly, with 18-24 year olds the most likely to think about a new handset’s green credentials (75 per cent).  

The findings, unveiled in a nationwide poll by O2, revealed that more than a third (38 per cent) of UK citizens would even consider buying a phone with less impressive tech specs than a rival handset, as long as it was produced in a more environmentally-friendly way. And 36 per cent of Brits would be willing to pay more for a new smartphone if it had a high Eco Rating, with those in London (57 per cent) over twice as likely to do so as those in Wales (25 per cent).  

London is the most eco-conscious place in the UK when it comes to phones, with 73 per cent of residents saying eco credentials are important to them when buying a new mobile handset. Those in Wales are the most unsure, with only 40 per cent of residents there looking to purchase a greener device. Younger people, meanwhile, are much more likely to invest in sustainable technology, with 42 per cent of 18-24 year olds researching the environmental impact of their last mobile phone purchase compared to just 11 per cent of those aged 45-54 years old.  

Half of Britons (50 per cent) said they would be more likely to research how environmentally friendly their next mobile phone was if there was a simple-to-understand environmental rating next to each phone when visiting a store online or on the high street. To help give customers consistent, accurate information on the environmental impact of producing, using, transporting and disposing of new devices, O2 is now displaying a new Eco Rating scheme online at www.o2.co.uk. The scores will also be available in O2 retail stores soon.  

Eco Rating is a new industry-wide labelling scheme designed to help consumers identify and compare the most sustainable mobile phones, and encourage suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of their devices.  

With Eco Rating making it easier than ever to discover how sustainable your next mobile phone purchase is, the five most important factors in helping Brits decide which handset to buy next are:  

  • Battery life (62 per cent) 
  • Price (60 per cent) 
  • Durability (how robust a device is and how long its guarantee period lasts: 47 per cent) 
  • Memory (33 per cent) 
  • Recyclability (how easily the device’s components can be disassembled and how well it can be recycled: 29 per cent) 
  • The brand and who manufactures it (26 per cent)

Almost half of Brits (44 per cent) have been inspired to think more about buying sustainable technology since last March but have never considered the impact of their mobile phone. Over two fifths (41 per cent) were surprised to learn that smartphones have an environmental footprint.  

Given how many mobiles are used in the UK, most people (65 per cent) say they think it’s time more of us consider how environmentally friendly a handset is before we purchase. Over half (52 per cent) claim that in general, they have become a more environmentally conscious shopper than they used to be. Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of Brits say they’re worried about the environment and what state we are leaving it in for the next generation, leading them to make more sustainable purchasing decisions to do their part.  

Nicola Green, Chief Communications and Corporate Affairs Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “It’s so encouraging to hear that the majority of us are pushing sustainability up our wish lists when thinking about a new phone. It’s what our new Eco Rating labelling is all about: making it easier to compare the eco credentials of handsets in our stores or online. Back in 2010, O2 launched the first Eco Rating scheme for phones, and it’s great to see that more than ten years on, younger people are leading the charge when it comes to greener tech purchases. As sustainability becomes as important as tech specs or brand for many, we’re here to make greener choices easier for everyone.”  

Virgin Media O2, which launched in June 2021, is a new joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica in the UK. The new company aims to combine its connectivity, people and brands to accelerate action on climate change, and has set a goal of achieving net zero carbon operations (Scopes 1 and 2) by the end of 2025.  

For more information on Eco Rating visit: www.o2.co.uk/eco-rating 


– ENDS – 


Notes to Editors 

*O2 commissioned OnePoll to survey 2,000 Brits across the UK. 

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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