Did Your Cell Phone Make the Green List?

RIM BlackBerry scored the worst in GoodGuide’s list of green cell phone manufacturers. According to an article by Wendy Koch, USA Today, BlackBerry only earned a 3.3 rating, mostly for the company’s environmental record. Nokia took top honors, with Samsung coming in second. Apple’s iPhone also scored in the lower half of the manufacturers, again not because the material in the iPhone is toxic, but because Apple itself has problems with its “ethical policies and performance.” Nokia scored as the top green manufacturer. 26 of 30 of the top cell phones scored were made by Nokia, each scoring 7.7 or 7.6 out of a possible 10 points. Nokia C6 scored best overall. This is pretty impressive.

Did Your Cell Phone Make the Green List?

“Our highest-rated cellphones have energy-efficient chargers and are made of environmentally preferable materials,” says a scorecard of 596 cellphones from 16 manufacturers by Good Guide, a company that rates products for their health, environmental and social impacts. The ranking says the top scorers are made by companies “implementing green production practices and takeback recycling programs.”

IDC (International Data Corporation) has its own list of good and bad manufacturers. The IDC study analyzes the sustainability efforts of 10 manufacturers. It ranks these manufacturers by their overall sustainability strategy, packaging, materials, energy, and end-of-life programs.

“Mobile operators play an important role in handset sustainability,” says Stephen Drake, program VP, Mobility and Telecom. “While they do not produce mobile phones, they are instrumental in driving the design, packaging, and materials used in handsets and are in the forefront in device lifecycle management from procurement to takeback. As the connection to the end customers, they can also influence end-user purchasing and are therefore critical players in the sustainable handset ecosystem.” IDC had this to say about the top 5 manufacturers on their list (alphabetically):

* AT&T, for its broad focus on trying to pick sustainable handsets

* Deutsche Telekom, for is focus on the raw materials in the mobile phones on its network

* Sprint Nextel, for its efforts to develop eco-criteria that have been used to develop a specific line of green mobile phones

* Telefonica, which has developed an eco-rating system for handset being sold in the United Kingdom

* Vodafone, which is focused on materials sourcing for mobile phones on its network

How important is it to you that you support “green” manufacturers? Do you recycle your old cell phones? According IDC, only 10% of cell phones are recycled. In a world that is filling up with e-waste, it is important to consider alternatives. See my blog Give Your Gadgets a Green Burial. Perhaps you will decide to donate your cell phone to a charitable cause. Working together, we can make a difference.

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