Green is the word. Last year we launched the very first Mobile Choice Green Award, and now O2 is launching a first of its kind eco-rating for the handsets it carries.
The Green First eco-rating looks at a surprisingly wide range of factors to determine how sustainable a handset is in comparison to other handsets. Each handset is then given a score out of a five.
One of Sony Ericsson's flagship green phones, the Elm, tops the list at 4.3, followed by seven handsets all scoring 4.0: Nokia 1800, Nokia 6700, Nokia C7, Samsung Wave, and three more Sony E devices, the Xperia X10 Mini, X10 Mini Pro and the Zylo. (The iPhone and all BlackBerrys are conspicuously missing - according to Steve Adler, O2's Head of Devices, Apple has its own sustainability information at its website, while RIM won't have collected the necessary data until next year.)
Interestingly, the much vaunted measure of 'green' - carbon footprint - is not a featured criteria. Instead, the rating takes into account how the handset might help someone live a more 'sustainable' life - for example, a phone with a good camera, music player and GPS receiver could replace the need for separate devices; or software that would allow you to plan journeys by public transport or foot instead of private car.
Raw materials it contains, impact caused by its manufacture, packaging, longevity and energy efficiency are also taken into account.
Mats Pellbäck Scharp, Head of Sustainability at Sony Ericsson, which had five phones in the top ten, said that the company was already applying the principles of its GreenHeart eco-phone range (which includes the Elm) to its new phones - hence the appearance of non-green-branded X10 Mini and Mini Pro, and the Zylo. In fact, the manufacturer has previously announced that by 2011, all its accessories will follow the same practices as its GreenHeart range.
The upshot? This just might kickstart a trend for all manufacturers to start making phones that are less environmentally unfriendly. At the very least, the eco conscious amongst you can start choosing your phone by green-ness, as phones' eco-rating will be visible in O2 store and online from today.