Report predicts production of a smartphone produces twice as many GHG emissions per phone in comparison to a handset, says global industry has ability to save 30 million tonnes over next five years by targeting activities, mainly component manufacturing

Kendall Sinclair

Kendall Sinclair

Jun 27, 2012 – Juniper Research

HAMPSHIRE, England , June 27, 2012 (press release) – A new report from analyst firm Juniper Research forecasts that 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.

Making Smarter, Sustainable

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.

The Scale of the Challenge

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.”

Other key findings from the report include:

Green handset shipments will reach 392 million by 2017 – more than ten times the number the company expects to be shipped in 2012.
Mobile network operators can play a crucial role as green champions due to their unique customer-facing position, including recycling initiatives and providing eco-ratings at point-of-sale.
Smart devices are partly powered by the cloud, and vendors need to consider the impact of data centres as part of the impact of smartphones and tablets.

The ‘Smart & Sustainable Devices’ whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the study Green Handsets & Tablets: Life-Cycle Analysis & Forecasts 2012-2017.

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

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