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European Eco Rating scheme launched to help you pick the greenest phone

The European Eco Rating logo on a green background

Vodafone has announced that it will be joining Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, and Telia Company to launch a new Eco Rating scheme for smartphones and feature phones that will come to Europe from June and will rate phones from 12 vendors based on their environmental impact.

According to Vodafone, the 12 mobile phone brands that will be assessed by the Eco Rating initiative initially are Bullitt Group (behind CAT and Motorola rugged phones), Doro, HMD Global (maker of Nokia phones), Huawei, MobiWire, Motorola / Lenovo, OnePlus, OPPO, Samsung Electronics, TCL / Alcatel, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

The new scheme will rate devices based on five factors:

  • Durability – Covers the robustness of the device, the battery life and the guarantee period of the device and its components.
  • Repairability – Covers the ease with which the device can be repaired, including mobile phone design and supporting activities that could increase the useful life of the product by improving its repairability, reusability and upgradability potential. A higher the score indicates how these aspects are supported.
  • Recyclability – Covers how well the device components can be recovered and disassembled, the provided information to allow it, and how well its materials can be recycled.
  • Climate efficiency – Assesses the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions during the whole life cycle; the better the score here, the higher the contribution to climate protection.
  • Resource efficiency – Assesses the impact caused by the amount of scarce raw materials required by the device (e.g. gold for the manufacturing of electronic components) towards the resources depletion; the better the score here, the lower the impact is towards the availability of materials.

The heads of the five mobile operators behind the initiative explained in a statement that now is the right time for a harmonised eco rating scheme to help customers learn which devices are best for the environment. They also said that they look forward to welcoming more phone manufacturers into the scheme and they hope it accelerates the industry’s transition to a circular model where phones are used for longer before they're recycled for their materials.

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