Apple avoids O2's green handset ranking
By Nicole Kobie
Posted on 25 Aug 2010 at 11:56
The Sony Ericsson Elm is the most earth-friendly phone available from O2, according to the mobile operator's new sustainability ranking.
While you'd be forgiven for never having heard of the Elm before, more popular handsets such as the Apple iPhone and RIM's BlackBerrys weren't included in the voluntary ranking - although the latter will add its phones by the first quarter of next year.
O2 worked with green group Forum for the Future to rank 65 of the phones in the operator's store, making up 93% of the handsets it offers.
Part of Sony Ericsson's GreenHeart lineup, the Elm scored 4.3 out of five, placing it top of the 65 ranked handsets. Several phones came joint second with a score of four, including Nokia's 1800, 6700, and C7, Samsung's GT-S8500, and three more from Sony Ericsson, the Xperia X10 mini, mini pro and Zylo.
The Palm Pre Plus was the lowest-ranked phone with a score of 2.7 out of five. The LG Cookie and HTC HD2 both scored 2.9.
Such a list clearly suffers without the Apple iPhone, which has sold millions worldwide. Apple said it had no comment to make, but pointed to the environmental impact data on its own website.
Gareth Rice, O2's head of environment, said: "[Apple] feels its system is more pertinent to its communications needs and the information it wants to get across, and we respect that."
"We'd be delighted if Apple joined us, but it's early days yet," he added.
O2 has no plans to rank the iPhone without Apple's permission. "When we embarked upon this initiative, we realised if this was going to be successful... we recognised it needed to be with support with the vendors themselves," Rice said. "It needs to be a co-operative thing, and not a mandatory thing that we push onto our suppliers."
Rice said O2 hoped to spread the scheme globally via parent company Telefonica and hoped other operators would pick it up.
Will customers buy green?
The sustainability ranking will be displayed in stores as well as in O2's online shop. The mobile operator surveyed customers last year, with 44% claiming such data would affect their buying decision.
"We see this as very much an opportunity to raise their awareness, and engage them in the sustainability agenda," Rice said, adding O2 hoped to influence manufacturers, too. "When we set this out we did hope it would show our supply base that sustainability matters to us too."
Forum For the Future sustainability advisor Ilka Weissbrod admitted other factors might be more important to buyers. "But we just don't know at the moment, as this has just launched," she said, adding the group will track the effect the green ranking has on O2's sales. "We would very much hope that it would affect buying behaviour."
A List smartphones
How useful will O2's ranking be to buyers considering the smartphones on PC Pro's A List?
- Premium smartphones:
- Apple iPhone - not ranked
- BlackBerry Bold 9700 - not ranked
- Samsung Galaxy S - 3.6
- HTC Desire - 3.5
- Budget smartphones:
- HTC Wildfire - not sold by O2
- HTC HD Mini - 3.7
- Samsung Galaxy Portal - not sold by O2
Elm is lovely
The Elm is a really nice phone. A friend just got one and it's exactly what I'll be after (when I upgrade).
Perfect for all of those that don't want a phone that is 'smart'!
That said, i couldn't give a monkey's whether it's green or not!
By Grunthos on 25 Aug 2010
I nominate this item for the least interesting story slot. How green is your mobile phone? Don't know, don't care and I'm not even remotely sure it matters.
Maybe O2's good work will win them another couple of vegan feminists as customers.
Now lets' find a tree to hug.
By milliganp on 25 Aug 2010
And I'm not vegan or feminist
By angusrivers on 25 Aug 2010
I care as well...
...and so do a lot of other people. I'm no tree-hugger (what an awful phrase) but knowing that a piece of equipment you use daily for many months is less damaging to the world you live in is simply common sense.
On another point, how typical of Apple. I don't think Greenpeace ask Apple for permission before ranking them. And if the companies and products weren't ranked like this, where's the incentive for them to improve?
By mviracca on 25 Aug 2010
Vegan Feminist Haters
Ah, just cos the Conservatives are in power, they think everyone shares their opinions again.
For what it's worth, Greenpeace can rank any manufacturer it likes, because it isn't also selling things by those manufacturers.
Apple, on the other hand, just don't like any press whatsoever that they don't control.
By JulesLt on 26 Aug 2010
"Green" phone..... what an oxymoronic statement.
Given the so called "environmental cost" of production, infrastructure, energy requirements and disposal only a fool would even concider them to be even vaguely green.... even if you paint it.
Now if they were an item essential to survival then perhaps you can justify one on "green" credentials, but as they are purely a convenience or means of entertainment I would find any such argument weak. if you want a "green" phone.... use a land line.
By mikeos on 26 Aug 2010
My mobile phone consumes approximately 240WH a year which equates to 150g of carbon. This is the same as playing Crisis in hi-res for an hour or driving a BMW X5 600 meters. To believe I can change the world by getting a phone that is 20% greener is a self-delusional form of lunacy. Re-arranging the deckchairs on the titanic is only slightly less meaningful!
By milliganp on 26 Aug 2010
Mea Culpa - sorry!
I've read a more detailed report on the Forum or the Future website and it seems that their index is not mere "green" issues but includes such issues as employment conditions in factories, fair trade etc.
However (trying very hard not to back down) phones still represent a near infinitesimal percentage of any individuals environmental impact, but what Forum for the Future is trying to do does seem worthwhile.
By milliganp on 26 Aug 2010
The "green index" considers the environmental impact of the manufacturing process, as well as the device's operating energy efficiency.
By PaleRider on 27 Aug 2010
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