A look at the greenest smartphone makers

With no unifying or international rating or certification currently awarded, how do you judge the impact that your shiny new smartphone is having on the environment?

It's a question that's currently almost impossible to answer. If a phone is judged simply based on the energy it consumes when in use, then all premium handsets from all of the major manufacturers will score very highly. A smartphone costs less than $1 a year to keep charged; however, how much energy went into its creation, was it made from recycled materials, and what happens to it once it is no longer fit for purpose or until a better model comes along?

CTO Development, which since 1992 has been awarding international sustainability certificates to IT products, this month announced that it will be extending its practices to include smartphones for the first time. The organization's seal of approval will be awarded for products that are not only energy efficient but also demonstrate socially responsible manufacturing and recycling practices and a commitment to reducing or eliminating the use of substances that are potentially hazardous to health.

However, the standard is still in the discussion phase and is not expected to launch until 2014. In the meantime, the most comprehensive guide currently available is courtesy of Greenpeace, whose biannual Guide to Greener Electronics ranks all of the world's major tech companies in terms of sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions, recycling and use of precious earth minerals, as well as on issues such as a product's energy efficiency.

Here is a ranking of smartphone brands according to Greenpeace's latest Guide to Greener Electronics, released in November 2012:

1) Nokia
Ranked as the world's greenest phonemaker by Greenpece and as the the 14th greenest company anywhere in the world by Newsweek, Nokia recently hit its target for 40% renewable energy and also scores highly for its commitment to sustainability. It operates phone collection points in 100 countries and its latest handsets all use recycled plastics in their manufacture.

2) Apple
In 2012 Apple met its goal of 70% recycling as a percentage of its sales and it has some of the industry's most robust policies regarding the use of conflict minerals. Its smartphones are some of the most energy efficient on the market and it was one of the first tech companies to produce polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) and brominated frame retardant (BFR) free products.

3) Samsung
The South Korean company wins praise for its approach to product lifecycle, helping consumers hold on to their existing devices for as long as possible. The company is also completely open about not only its own greenhouse emissions but those of its supply chain partners.

4) Sony
Historically one of the most environmentally aware technology conglomerates, Sony already uses 8,500 tonnes of post-consumer recycled plastics a year in its products and has phased out the use of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC). It has also committed to a 5% drop in the use of virgin oil-based plastics by 2015. Like Apple and Nokia, Sony also scores well for the energy efficiency of its products.

5) Lenovo
Many of the company's products meet or exceed the Energy Star efficiency standards and Lenovo has also invested heavily in the use of recycled plastics and at the time of the last Greenpeace report -- published in November -- it was in the process of setting ambitious targets for cutting its greenhouse gas emissions. Whether it remains on track will be revealed in May, when the latest edition of the pressure group's bi-annual report is published.

6) LG
According to Greenpeace, all LG mobile phones are free of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) and brominated frame retardants (BFRs) and free of phthalates, antimony trioxide and beryllium oxide. The company could do more to reduce greenhouse emissions but scores highly for its commitment to sustainability, which includes a phone buyback system in 52 countries for obsolete devices.

7) BlackBerry
Over the last year, the company formerly known as RIM has made significant progress to improve the energy efficiency of both its devices and their chargers. All of its smartphones are free of brominated and chlorinate substances. The company also surveys its own suppliers on their sourcing of conflict minerals.


ch/kc

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China ignores global outcry vs reclamation
    China ignores global outcry vs reclamation

    On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …

  • Project NOAH exec receives recognition
    Project NOAH exec receives recognition

    Project NOAH executive director and University of the Philippines professor Mahar Lagmay recently received recognition from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for his work in disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the Philippines. …

  • Nightclub ban for US troops
    Nightclub ban for US troops

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said yesterday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipino he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow the 10-day annual military exercises, according to Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

  • US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow
    US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening  defense alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China’s increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Palace defends legal tack in sea row
    Palace defends legal tack in sea row

    There is nothing weak about taking the legal and diplomatic approach to push for the country’s claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Malacañang maintained yesterday. On Friday, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares led a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City to protest China’s massive reclamation activities in the Spratly island group to fortify its presence in the disputed waters. Colmenares also criticized the Philippine government for supposedly not doing enough to defend …

  • Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death
    Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death

    The sons of Mary Jane Veloso, who is facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, yesterday appealed to government officials to do everything to spare their mother from death. “We love you,” Mark Daniel, 12, said when asked for a message for his mother following a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Mark Daniel, an incoming Grade 8 student, reiterated his appeal to those in power to help save his mother from death. His younger brother, …

  • US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow
    US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers on Monday will kick off expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening defence alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China's increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial
    Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said Saturday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipina he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will on Monday kick off 10-day annual military excercises, according to Captain Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options