Mobile devices will be scored across five categories related to sustainability, combined to give an overall score out of 100

Just how sustainable is your mobile phone?

Today, a new joint initiative from Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telia Company, and Vodafone intends to make the answer to this question very clear with the introduction of Eco Rating labels for mobile devices. 

The labels will be based on five categories related to sustainability: durability, repairability, resource efficiency, recyclability, and climate efficiency. These categories will form part of a more detailed assessment of each mobile device, resulting in an overall Eco Rating out of 100.

Based on information from the operators, the various categories will take into consideration the entire life-cycle of the mobile phone where appropriate, providing consistent, accurate information at retail on the environmental impact of producing, using, transporting and disposing of smartphones.

The rating methodology was created by IHOBE, a publicly-owned agency specialized in Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, building upon the latest standards from various industry bodies, including the European Union,  ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The Eco Rating scheme will be rolled out across 24 European countries from June and will initially cover mobile phones from 12 vendors, including Huawei, Samsung, and Xiaomi devices. More devices are expected to follow as the scheme matures.

“Building a more sustainable future is our joint responsibility, so we believe the time is right to drive a harmonised, industry-wide Eco Rating Scheme that will improve transparency and help raise awareness of the environmental impact of the phones that our customers choose,” said the operators in a joint statement. 

“We look forward to welcoming more manufacturers and telecoms operators to the Eco Rating initiative in the future, and we hope it will inspire the whole industry to accelerate its transition towards a more circular model for mobile phones.”

With demand for mobile devices climbing, hopefully this Eco Rating scheme will push device makers and operators to compete with one another to make their supply chains more sustainable, as well as helping to educate consumers about the environmental costs of the devices they purchase.


Sustainability is rising up the agenda for telcos around the world, but are they doing enough? Find out how the operators are tackling the environmental challenge at this year’s live Total Telecom Congress

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