Vodafone’s New Zealand arm is about to start publishing an “eco-rating” for each of the handsets sold by its retailers. Using information obtained from handset manufacturers, consumers will know how much each phone is impacting the environment. Information such as carbon emissions and how much water is used in manufacturing, as well as ethical factors like labor policies, health and safety practices for people assembling the phones will all be included in determining the phone’s score, ranging from one to five.
In order to comply, handset makers will have to answer more than 200 questions, divided into three areas:
- Green design – Scores are higher for mobiles that have special energy saving modes and smart charging systems, and/or if they’re made with recycled materials.
- Mobile phone lifecycle – gives the environmental impact of each phone throughout its lifetime, from the extraction of raw materials to production, transport, use and disposal.
- Company performance – deals with the manufacturer’s commitment to managing environmental and ethical issues in their operations and in the supply chain. Points are awarded for practices that go beyond legal requirements.
In case you wonder, the Eco Rating scores are calculated by independent experts Bureau Veritas and SKM Enviros and the scoring methodology is assured by KPMG. At the moment we’ve no idea whether this will emerge into a practice every Vodafone branch is using. We like the idea, though…