GoodGuide is a US company that provides information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of consumer products. It has just added cell phones to the list of products it evaluates and has rated 576 cell phones products.
Most products are scored in three areas; environment, social and health, but in the case of cell phones the health aspect was not included on the grounds that there is no scientific consensus that cell phone use poses a significant health risk.
Full details of how the phones are assessed are here, but to use GoodGuide’s words; “Our highest rated cell phones have energy efficient chargers and are made of environmentally-preferable materials. They are made by companies that are implementing green production practices and take-back recycling programs and taking steps to ensure their supply chains treat workers fairly and avoid conflict minerals. The lowest rated cell phones have no ascertainable environmental features and are made by companies that are not focused on reducing their environmental and social impacts.”
Top of the rankings is the Nokia C6 Cell Phone, scoring 7.7 out of ten, while the BlackBerry Bold 9000 Smartphone brings up the rear, with just 3.3 points. The full list is here.
The GoodGuide also has recommendations on what to look for and what to avoid in choosing a phone. Look for positive environmental features or phones that have been certified by telcom carriers as meeting green standards. Phone manufacturers should be working with their supply chain to ensure production workers are treated fairly.
Avoid products that lack any information about their environmental attributes — a signal that the manufacturer is not focused on improving the environmental performance of their operations and products.
Sounds like a useful guide for those who want to buy environmentally friendly cell phones (or as environmentally-friendly as a cell phone can be). I guess it’s not much use outside the US, though, given the differences in product names and model numbers internationally.
If you know of anyone doing similar work on mobile phones outside of the US, let me know so I can pass it on.