Mobile phone providers introduce environmental ratings for smartphones

New smartphones are no longer just about high-performance technology, but also about sustainability. An environmental rating should help with purchases in the future. But of all people, the eco-pioneer among smartphone manufacturers is not taking part.

Leading European mobile phone providers want to provide information about the repairability and climate compatibility of new smartphones in the future. The “Eco Rating” presented on Tuesday awards up to 100 points. The overall rating for the offered smartphone is calculated from the manufacturer’s information.

On the provider side, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica (O2) and Vodafone participate in the rating system. Orange from France and Telia Company from Sweden are also there. Twelve manufacturers of Android mobile phones are currently cooperating with the project, including Oneplus, Lenovo (Motorola), HMD Global (Nokia), Oppo, Samsung, Xiaomi and Alcatel. However, Apple, Sony and Google are missing from the major smartphone manufacturers.

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It is noticeable that the Dutch manufacturer Fairphone, which according to many experts currently offers the most environmentally friendly smartphones, is not on the list of cooperation partners. A spokeswoman for Fairphone welcomed the initiative in principle as “an important step in the right direction for the industry towards a more sustainable approach”, but criticized the rating system. “While we are proud to have been part of the pilot and our participation was beneficial, we don’t believe that the points system reflects all of the work we are doing.”

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At Fairphone, environmental and social responsibility went hand in hand in order to achieve sustainable systemic change, said the spokeswoman. In the areas of repairability, recyclability and packaging, Fairphone achieved a high number of points in the rating. “However, due to the modular design of the phone and the fact that we are committed to our responsibility and the necessity of artisanal mining for the next few decades, rather than just focusing on recycled materials, we got down to the longevity and content of recycled materials badly cut. “

Fairphone also has extensive social responsibility programs in areas such as working conditions and fairer materials. “Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the eco-rating.”

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The providers said the rating applies to new devices. “When new smartphones or simple cell phones come onto the market, the mobile network operators will evaluate these devices. The consortium assumes that ultimately all devices that are available to consumers will have an eco-rating. “

The eco rating is made up of a total of five categories: durability, repairability, recycling capability, climate compatibility and resource conservation. In terms of longevity, it should be assessed, for example, how robust the device is. The battery life is also assessed. The warranty period of the device is also taken into account. The duration of the software support with Android and security updates does not seem to matter.

The assessment of the repairability includes, for example, the design of the mobile phone and additional measures that can improve the reusability, repairability and upgradeability of the device and thus extend the service life. dpa

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