Today, U.K. network provider O2 launched its Green Ranking scheme for cellphones. The scheme allows British residents, with a little help from Forum for the Future, to see just how eco-friendly their phones are. So, first up, the results: Sony Ericsson and Nokia took the top two spots, with the Elm and the 6700 respectively. Bottom were LG's Etna and the Palm Pre Plus.
But just how useful is this rating? Apple has already counted its iPhone, the most popular smartphone in the British Isles (with 64% market share), out of the scheme, reports The Guardian, although it declined to give a reason why, instead pointing people toward a statement on its environmental footprint. Three years ago, the firm was slammed by Greenpeace for having toxic phones—by that, I mean that the NGO claimed that the iPhone was not particularly environmentally friendly.
And you can see why Apple's come to this decision (apart from the fact that its marvelously arrogant attitude means it refuses to be beholden to anyone else's rules) because O2's eco-rating is a little bit dumb. Can O2 and Forum for the Future honestly say that they have collated all the data from source—for example, the sustainability of the Far Eastern factories that either make components for the cellphones, or put the blasted things together?
How many people are going to choose a phone for its green rating? There are people who want any kind of phone, as long as it's pink, or one that fits into their banana hammock. Maybe they'd just rather stick with their tried-and-tested handset manufacturer.
Fast Company's advice here is to buy the phone you want based on specs—nothing more. If you really feel guilty about taking possession of your Etna (you've got to laugh at the environmental catastrophe of the name there, haven't you?) or your Palm Pre, then take the bus for a week, rather than using the car because, for each mobile phone sold, the impact on the environment is minuscule.