Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mobile Phone Companies Commit to Environmental Action Plan

A group of mobile manufacturers, network operators, suppliers, recyclers, consumer and environmental organisations, led by Nokia, has committed to improve the environmental performance of mobile phones and to do more to raise consumer awareness and participation in take-back and recycling. Key points of the initiative include:

  • Reducing energy consumption of mobile phones. One idea is to equip phones with reminders to unplug chargers once the battery is recharged. Nokia plans to have these alerts in new phones by the middle of next year.

  • Eliminating the use of specific materials of concern. For example, Nokia no longer use Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR) on new printed wiring boards used to make mobile phones.

  • Improving the amount of phones collected through take-back schemes and recycled. Over the next two years the group will look at the range of existing recycling schemes operated around the world and identify which work most successfully and why.

  • Giving consumers more environmental information about products.

The group was created as part of a European Commission pilot project looking at how different industries could work with stakeholder groups to reduce the environmental impact of their products throughout their lifecycle.

Nokia proposed the mobile phone sector to the Commission. Other members of the voluntary group were Motorola, Panasonic Mobile Communications, France Telecom/Orange, Vodafone, TeliaSonera AB, Intel, Epson, Spansion and Umicore, and environmental experts from the WWF, the Finnish Environmental Institute, the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC).

See also