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Sustainability Becomes Key Mobile Device Purchasing Consideration

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Paul Korzeniowski's picture
B2B Content producer, Self-employed

Paul is a seasoned (basically old) freelance B2B content producer. Through the years, he has written more than 10,000 items (blogs, news stories, white papers, case studies, press releases and...

  • Member since 2011
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  • Nov 14, 2022

Energy companies are on the front line in the sustainability battle. While most of the attention focuses on their fuel choices, their equipment purchases, especially their mobile devices, also play a key role maintaining in Earth’s viability. Consequently, a growing number are starting to look at lengthening the lifespan of their mobile devices.

Historically, sustainability was not a key consideration for consumers as they purchased goods and services. But their mindset has recently been changing and forcing companies to pay more attention to the issue. This year, CEOs listed environmental sustainability in their Top 10 business priorities, according to Gartner Inc. Illustrating the dramatic shift in thinking three years ago, the issue was outside the Top 10 and seven years ago was not even listed in the Top 20.

Smartphone’s Large CO2 Footprint

Consequently, customers are taking note of what steps, utilities are taking to curb their carbon footprints. One area gaining more attention is how they use mobile devices. The ginormous smartphone base, 4.5 billion worldwide, is expected to generate 146 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2022, according to Deloitte. Tablets and laptops also significantly contribute to the problem.

One factor is the devices’ short lifespans. Because technology evolves so quickly, the average lifespan of a smartphone is a few years and creates CO2 emissions. In fact, a brand-new smartphone generates an average of 85 kilograms in emissions in its first year of use. With 1.4 billion phones expected to be manufactured and shipped in 2022, the negative impact on the environment is clear.

So, an area of emphasis is extending mobile device lifespan. Modifying (refurbishing) current devices is one option. Purchasing used devices is another.

Such purchases help the planet in many ways. Mobile devices consist of a number of materials. Tin can be reused for circuit boards, cobalt for batteries, and aluminum for enclosures. Mining is an intensive CO2 creating activity. Using recycled materials also reduces CO2 emissions. Technology now exists to even reuse rare-earth elements, which, up until a few years ago, wasn’t considered commercially viable due to their small size.

A Few Hurdles Emerge

But making mobile devices environmentally friendly is challenging. Energy companies have well established processes for delivering mobile systems to users, and change is never easy to implement.

Also, older systems sometimes become technology obsolete. So, energy companies have to work with their suppliers to ensure that their mobile software and security checks are current and sufficient to meet corporate demands.  

Sustainability is a key issue for energy companies and recently became a hot button for their customers. In addition to fuel choices, energy companies are taking a closer look at their mobile device purchases and trying to make them more eco-friendly.


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