The rise of the greener phone

Green handset shipments will reach 392 million by 2017, but smartphone makers need to be more aggressive with green initiatives, says a new report.

Juniper Research says the smartphone industry has the opportunity to save 30 million tonnes in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions over the next five years by targeting the largest sources within its supply chain activities, notably component manufacturing. With smartphones taking over from mass market handsets, the industry will need to streamline its operations say analysts.

The ‘Green Handset & Tablet’ report estimates that supply chain activities – raw material extraction, component manufacturing, device assembly and transportation – result in twice as much GHG emissions per smartphone, in comparison with other handsets. With these devices proving more popular with consumers, vendors are faced with a serious challenge to their green credentials: how to make devices smarter, and sustainable.

With the company predicting that supply chain GHG emissions will reach 24 million tonnes this year alone, and the number of smartphones shipped per annum set to nearly double over the next five years, the industry will need to adopt the aggressive strategies set out in Juniper’s report – but the rewards will be huge.

According to report author Daniel Ashdown: “This 30 million tonne saving is the equivalent of the GHGs emitted by 5.3 million cars in a year (1 out of 6 cars in the UK, or 3 out of every 100 worldwide), or that of a 62 billion mile car journey. Over 30 billion tonnes of CO2 are produced worldwide every year.”

The report says green handset shipments will reach 392 million by 2017 – more than ten times the number the company expects to be shipped in 2012.

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