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Eco Rating for UK Mobile Phones: One Year On

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 4th, 2011

Source: Forum for the Future newsletter

Graphic taken from the PDF, “O2 Eco Rating Brief“.

From “O2 Eco rating – one year on“:

Eco rating, the UK’s first scheme rating the sustainability of mobile phones, has won three major coups since it launched nearly a year ago.

Eco ratings appeared in O2’s shops in August 2010, scoring handsets out of five for their sustainability. Since then the project has become a brilliant example of how a measurement approach can drive innovation into many elements of a system, rather than just one pocket. Or in other words: how an organisational change project can become an enabler of system change.

In the UK, O2 uses the Eco rating assessment scores to engage its international supplier base of mobile phone manufacturers on the sustainability agenda. But on top of continuing to drive change within the O2 UK business and its supply chain, the Eco rating scheme is now being rolled out to the wider Telefónica Group. Telefónica O2 Germany, for example, uses the Eco rating methodology and launched it in its stores (as Eco Index) in May.

Coup number two is the success of the ‘functionality’ element of the Eco rating project. By this we mean mobile phone functions and pre-installed software (such as point-to-point walking maps) that encourage users to behave in ways that are good for the planet. The inclusion of consumer behaviour elements in the Eco rating assessment pushes sustainability boundaries, so we are very pleased to have the opportunity to propose this aspect of the Eco rating scheme to the European Commission. We’re currently updating the EU Green Public Procurement guidelines for mobile phones in the light of the Eco rating project, with the revised GPP guidelines due to be published in November 2011.

The icing on the cake has been three recent award nominations for Eco rating, including one from the Ethical Corporation Awards and one from the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards. Even though O2 UK didn’t win, we’re very happy that Eco rating has been recognised as a success.

We’ll continue to observe and learn from how Eco rating, which started as a humble measurement project, can reach further into the Information and Communication Technology industry and the public sector, and help to engage consumers.

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