Mobile device greenhouse gas emissions surge

A new report from Juniper Research has found that charging mobile devices will generate more than 13 megatonnes  CO2e (CO2 equivalent) of greenhouse gases per annum globally by 2019, against an anticipated 6.4 megatonnes this year. Nearly 50% of these 2019 emissions – equivalent to annual emissions from 1.1 million cars – will come from coal-fired Asian electricity grids powering growing smartphone use.

According to the report – Green Mobile: The Complete Guide to Vendor Strategies & Future Prospects 2014-2019 – there is low consumer awareness of renewable energy and sustainable habits in these markets. It is down to vendors to take the lead in making energy companies provide more green electricity for both industry and consumers.

The report also notes that where ICT companies have insisted on renewable energy from their grids, energy companies have offered to expand renewable supply to other consumers. It claims that more a widespread adoption of this approach could help lower supplier emissions within the mobile arena.

Companies can have a more direct impact on user emissions by making energy efficient components and apps standard for their devices. This will also have the beneficial effect of prolonging battery life, which has long been a consumer pain point in device use.

Additionally, the report argues that with eco-ratings playing a larger part in product evaluations, the business imperatives for sustainability are impossible to ignore.

The report adds that phone design has a large impact on recyclability, as certain design features make recycling uneconomical. Vendors must plan for end of device life to ensure they do not exacerbate the growing e-waste problem. In addition, supply chain emissions still remain a huge problem for the industry. If suppliers can be incentivised to change now, the industry could save a potential 57.8 megatonnes in GHG emissions by 2019.

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