Check how green your camera phone is (unless it's an iPhone)

Max Simonov / Unsplash
(Image credit: Max Simonov / Unsplash)

Five of Europe’s largest mobile operators have joined forces to create a new Eco-Rating labelling scheme that will allow consumers to compare the environmental impact of camera phones and encourage manufacturers to make their products more sustainable.

Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica (operating under the O2 and Movistar brands), Telia Company and Vodafone are behind the Eco Rating scheme, which evaluates the environmental impact of the entire process of production, transportation, use and disposal of camera phones.

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The twelve manufacturers that have signed up to the scheme are Bullitt Group, which makes CAT and Motorola rugged phones, Doro, HMD Global (which makes Nokia phones under license), Huawei, MobiWire, Motorola/Lenovo, OnePlus, Oppo, Samsung, TCL/Alcatel, Xiaomi and ZTE. 

One notable absentee, however, is Apple – meaning iPhones such as the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Mini won’t be included in the scheme, although it is unclear what the reason is for Apple's omission.

Marks out of 100 will be given based on five key criteria – durability, reparability, recyclability, climate efficiency and resource efficiency. (Image credit: Eco Rating)

The mobile operators will all display a score out of 100 alongside devices from 12 manufacturers at the point of sale. This score calculates the cost of producing, using, transporting and disposing the device and is based on five key criteria – durability, reparability, recyclability, climate efficiency and resource efficiency.

The labelling will come into effect next month in 24 countries where at least one of the operators involved has a presence.

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

The consortium believes the Eco Rating scheme is complementary to the current EPEAT environmental evaluation system, which gives gold, silver and bronze awards to electronic devices based on their environmental attributes. However, whereas the life cycle assessment only counts for 7.5% of a product's score under the EPEAT system, for the Eco Rating scheme it counts for 100%. For further details on the scheme visit the Eco Rating website.

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Laurence McJannet

Laurence is an NCTJ-trained journalist with nearly 20 years' editorial experience gained on a wide range of publications, from The Beirut Times in Lebanon to The Sunday Times, and including recent freelance engagements with Future's cycling and automotive portfolios, Outdoor Fitness, and The English Home. He has recently been undertaking a sports broadcast journalism MA at Southampton Solent, gaining valuable TV and radio experience, and am currently videographer for Frome Town FC soccer team. He is the author of Bikepacking (Wild Things Publishing, 2016).