The first mobile phone eco index has been launched by O2 in the UK and you can expect this to be a global process soon. The index has been developed jointly by O2 and a leading sustainable ideas foundation. So, the time has come for you to make wiser and more informed decisions before buying a mobile phone.
For now, Apple has decided not be a part of this initiative, for reasons yet to be revealed by the company. RIM has stated that it will not be a part of this before 2011. But most major mobile phone manufacturers are already playing a role in taking this movement forward. Sony Ericsson, HTC, LG and Nokia are some of the leading names whose devices are being by indexed by O2.
So what is O2 eco-friendly index basically about?
Since every electronic device you use has a carbon footprint, thus a sustainable device is one which among other things has been manufactured in an eco-friendly manner and the use of which does not affect the environment adversely. Even when you replace it, it should not harm the environment when recycled.
The assessment criteria include various impacts such as those involving raw materials used, packaging and delivery, usage and disposal and functionality. Functionality and raw materials are the most important criteria according to weight assigned.
Companies participating in this index provide data about their handsets voluntarily and this is taken at face value without verification.
Given the current emphasis on sustainable development and consumption, Apple’s refusal to divulge data on sustainability performance of its devices is rather disturbing. Recently the company also was publicly criticized for the same reason by the NASDAQ CRD sustainability index. Even companies like Dell, IBM and HP are way ahead of Apple in this regard.
Most ironically, it is easiest for companies such as Apple to have the best sustainable practices due to strong financial metrics and advantages of scale.
The bigger picture is that these indices will help weed out the wrongdoers and for all the unfair business practices that go on in the name of development, naming and shaming is required. For users too, this is a call to become more responsible.