The topic of sustainability is finally making its way into the office: 82% of UK employees are in favour of IP terminals with components made from recycled materials, with nearly two-thirds (57%) saying they would pay for more sustainably produced products.
Snom Technology, a premium worldwide brand for IP telephony in the business and industrial sectors, is known for its proximity to the market and the continuous involvement of partners and customers in the development of new products, which is also achieved through market surveys.
A representative survey (*), commissioned by Snom and carried out in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, by the independent research institute Norstat in November 2021, aimed to identify the opinion of users of IP desk phones in relation to more eco-friendly terminals, and to find whether – in the face of increased sustainability – the market would be willing to accept a possible price increase.
What is the value of sustainability?
Of the 1,937 European respondents, 66% currently use corded telephones at work. Despite each country having unique preferences, the survey confirmed that company desk phones still have a high market share – even though new working practices have emerged during the pandemic. "To maintain this market share, IP telephones must redefine themselves, not only in terms of design or functionality, but also in terms of more sustainable and high-quality materials," declared Florent Aubert, Head of Product Management at Snom.
How much of the UK workforce are concerned with sustainability, and what value do they actually attribute to it? A staggering 82% of IP telephone users in the UK said that they would prioritise components made with recycled materials and believe that all additional parts (including the base and handset for examples) should only be made using these materials.
While all respondents placed a high value on eco-friendly parts, there were some fluctuations when comparing different countries. For example, 88% of users in Spain were in favour of increased sustainability of office hardware, compared to 75% in Germany. In spite of these fluctuations the message is clear: the majority of users are in favour of using recycled materials in ancillary components.
Positive, but generally more restrained, was the answer to a possible, albeit negligible, price increase for the use of components made with recycled raw materials. The demand for more sustainable devices therefore increases faster than the perception of how much the use of these materials complicates the manufacturing processes and therefore involves – at least initially – additional costs for manufacturers.
Fully in line with the European average, 57% of UK interviewees agree with a price increase from three to a maximum of five per cent, compared with France, where only 43% of users would accept higher prices. “Even the internal survey conducted in parallel with our partners highlighted a reluctance to a potential, albeit minimal, price increase” Aubert revealed.
The image problems of recycled materials
18% of users of IP desk phone users in the UK said they would not trust recycled materials. When asked to expand on their reasoning, 62% of UK respondents said that they consider recycled materials to be less stable and durable than conventional raw materials, while 38% believe that recycled materials are less hygienic than new materials.
"Doubts about the robustness or hygiene of recycled materials are unfounded", confirmed Aubert, "Companies that want to go down this path must therefore learn to manage the image problems of recycled raw materials that were highlighted by the survey”.
Aubert concluded: "It’s fantastic to see businesses prioritising sustainability, with our survey revealing that a high number of users now want a more eco-friendly IP terminal. This is only encouraging us to continue looking at ways that Snom can fulfil that need and help organisations on their sustainability journey."
(*)Representative survey conducted from the 8th to the 15th of November 2021 on a sample of 1937 people (middle managers, executives and company employees) in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. In the UK, 410 employees were interviewed, of which 258 users of company desk phones form the reference basis for the UK survey values.