How Eco-Friendly Is Your Smartphone Manufacturer? Check Its Environmental Report Card

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An international study by Unilever revealed that one-third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. After Washington-based environmental advocacy group Greenpeace released its report ranking some of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers, consumers will have just a bit more insight and information regarding environmental impact to help them decide which brands they’d like to endorse, according to Waste360.

The report, titled Guide To Greener Electronics, ranked 17 manufacturers based on a number of criteria including total energy use, elimination of hazardous toxins from products and manufacturing processes, resource consumption, and more.

The results yielded grades across the board, with Apple and Fairphone receiving the highest marks, which were in the ‘B’ range. There were also four brands that failed overall: Amazon, Vivo, Xiaomi, and Oppo.

The report has been published regularly between 2006 and 2012, and Greenpeace officials say they did notice sure but steady progress from many of these companies. As a result, countless environmental toxins and materials have been eliminated from manufacturing processes.

“Now, it is clear the impacts of the linear take-make-waste business model employed by device manufacturers extend beyond the concerns of hazardous e-waste,” the group said in the published report.

The report was quick to note that even though the IT industry has evolved the world in astounding ways, the business model they employ to manufacture these devices — smartphones, tablets, and personal computers — is simple not sustainable.

“While there have been initial, but important, steps forward by a few major IT companies to reduce their environmental footprint, most brands continue to make product design and supply chain decisions that are increasing,” the report said.

Greenpeace cited a number of essential steps these manufacturers can and should take to reduce emissions and maximize sustainability. For example, out of all tungsten available for scrap, 66% of it was either used in the U.S. or exported for recycling, yet European smartphone manufacturer Fairphone was the only brand credited in the report to use recycled tungsten in its products.

Greenpeace also noted that incorporating other recycled or secondary materials such as plastics and other metals can also boost their eco-friendly grades. And if these manufacturers can figure out a way to make sure their products can be easily recycled after they inevitably break down, each piece of the eco-friendly puzzle will be put in its place.

Ultimately, with these statistics and professional analytics published on the Internet and readily available, consumers have one more way to stay eco-conscious about the brands, products, and services they choose to give their business.

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