New ‘Eco Rating’ measures smartphones' environmental impact
In an effort to help consumers cut back on e-waste and introduce a greater degree of transparency into the process of shopping for a new smartphone, five of Europe’s biggest telecom operators have launched a new Eco Rating system for comparing the environmental impact of different handsets.
The scheme, jointly developed by Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telia and Vodafone, will provide customers with a score out of 100 for devices from 12 manufacturers at their point of sale.
The Eco Rating system, which provides an aggregate score with a maximum value of 100, measures the durability, repairability, recyclability, climate efficiency and resource efficiency of participating devices.
The key criteria assessed by the Eco Rating labelling scheme
The new consumer brands participating in the program include the Bullitt Group – Home of CAT and Motorola rugged phones, Doro, HMD Global - Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, MobiWire, Motorola and Lenovo, OnePlus, OPPO, Samsung Electronics, TCL and Alcatel, Xiaomi and ZTE.
Durability takes into account battery life robustness, and the guaranteed period or lifespan of a smartphone, while repairability and recyclability measure how easy it is to fix and recover device components. Climate efficiency assesses the greenhouse gas emissions of a device throughout its lifecycle and resource efficiency weighs up the impact caused by the scarce raw materials that devices require to be manufactured.
“Building a more sustainable future is our joint responsibility, so we believe the time is right to drive a harmonised, industry-wide Eco Rating Scheme that will improve transparency and help raise awareness of the environmental impact of the phones that our customers choose,” said the CEO’s of the five participating carriers, Tim Höttges (Deutsche Telekom), Stéphane Richard (Orange), José María Álvarez-Pallete (Telefónica), Allison Kirkby (Telia Company) and Nick Read (Vodafone Group) as part of a joint statement.
“We look forward to welcoming more manufacturers and telecoms operators to the Eco Rating initiative in the future, and we hope it will inspire the whole industry to accelerate its transition towards a more circular model for mobile phones”, they concluded.
The Eco Rating system will be introduced from June in 24 markets throughout Europe.
UK NFIB issues warning over mobile phone scams
The UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued a warning to mobile phone users after being made aware of an ongoing mobile scam involving customers being “cold-called” by individuals impersonating employees of mobile network operators and suppliers.
What is the mobile network scam and what happens?
According to the organisation, the scams include offers of early handset upgrades, or new contracts with significant discounts. The NFIB says that, once scammers have convinced the customers that the deals are genuine, they then ask for online mobile account credentials, home addresses, bank account details, logins, and passwords.
Using these details, the suspects then place orders with genuine companies on the victims’ behalf, before selecting a different handset to the one requested, and sending it to that victim’s home address.
Once the victims have received the handsets, the suspect then explains that it was made in error, instructing them to send the handset to a different address not associated with the company they claim to be calling from. The NFIB says that these addresses are normally residential.
The final stage involves the scammers intercepting the supposedly returned devices before ceasing all contact with the victim, leaving them with no phone and no mobile network contract.
Since January 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received over 300 reports of this particular scam, reporting losses exceeding £86,000. So what can you do to protect yourself?
How to protect yourself from a mobile network scam
- If the caller asks about mobile upgrades and network contracts, hang up without giving out any personal information if you are unsure as to whether the call is genuine or if you think that the person calling is not from the company they claim to be from.
- Only contact your mobile network provider using a number that you know is correct. But what if you don’t know? There are usually contact details such as this and including a phone number on the operator’s official website.
- If you receive a device or handset that you didn’t order, contact the genuine sender immediately, the details of which will be displayed on the parcel or package the device was shipped in.
- NEVER post a device to an unknown address. Genuine employees of mobile networks would not ask you to do this and would always send a jiffy bag or empty package for you to return the device without any additional charges.
Any incidents can be reported to Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.