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Consumers Want Green Phones: Are Providers Ready?

Consumers Want Green Phones: Are Providers Ready?

While vegan boots and solar powered laptop chargers are wonderful demonstrations of the possibilities of sustainable design, many experts believe that a detectible positive impact will only be made when environmentally products are used by the majority.

This means that mainstream products used by millions of people, things like cars and phones, must be available in environmentally-friendly versions, and companies must begin to market these items based on environmental factors. There’s also the question of demand: if people don’t really see the advantages of purchasing a green product over it’s more traditional (and often cheaper) counterpart, the whole effort is for nothing.

Interestingly, mobile phones and other communication devices might be the first area to see a significant shift toward more eco-friendly development.

“A recent study by ABI Research found that nearly half of U.S. consumers would choose a green handset over a conventional phone if price, features and performance were the same.

ABI estimates the proportion of properly recycled handsets will grow from 8% in 2009 to 17% in 2014. A separate Juniper report predicts that even with an incremental shift in consumer attitudes, shipments of green phones will grow from 250,000 in 2009 to 105 million by 2014″ (MoBlog).

Despite this information, phone companies have been much slower than car companies to allow this demand to guide their development and marketing processes. Made from 80% recyclable material and released in August, the Reclaim, a phone offered by Sprint has been one of the only aggressively marketed green phone to date in the U.S.

Although some critics point to the name and (green) color of the Reclaim as an ostentatious marketing tactic, reviewers found that they phone was lightweight, responsive, and loaded with all the bells and whistles that smart phone users have come to expect.

While this is all well and good, it’s probably hard for you to name two friends that have one, or even the last time you saw the green handset pressed to someone’s ear on the street.

According to MoBlog, “Green choices don’t come into play the way [with phones] they do in more established sectors like consumer packaged goods or autos. That’s partly because handset makers so far aren’t trying to compete on environmental factors, focusing instead on more fundamental phone differences as they scramble for market share in a shifting mobile landscape.

Apart from any regulatory or legal requirements, it’s not likely manufacturers will focus more on environmental considerations until they see them as an important differentiating factor for consumers.”

What people should take away from the ABI and Juniper studies more than anything else is that companies will listen to consumers. The econ geniuses didn’t name it supply and DEMAND for nothing. If, as consumers, we consistently demonstrate that we prefer products made consiously and responsibly over those that are made cheaply and quickly, the industry will respond.

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Image Credit: assets.gearlive.com

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30 comments

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7:55AM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

yes, yes, good good
we are the consumer who create the demand and can ignore silly offers.
We are also the citizen of earth who can consume less,
and less,
and less.

7:30AM PST on Jan 14, 2010

Thanks!

10:12AM PST on Nov 12, 2009

I would get one! I do not have a cell phone now, we only have land line happy with it!

7:09PM PST on Nov 1, 2009

Seeing the link was cut off here it is again.
http://www.sprint.com/responsibility/
communities_across/project_connect.html

7:07PM PST on Nov 1, 2009

I noticed one comment on finding a place to recycle a battery. Print out a label from Sprint and ship it to them, they also take old phones no matter what carrier or model. http://www.sprint.com/responsibility/communities_across/project_connect.html

4:53PM PST on Nov 1, 2009

I am happy with a phone that works be it 6 months or 6 years old, I really don't have to keep on up-grading it. As long as it works and is environmentally friendly then that is OK (better than the nightmare of trying to find somewhere to get rid of the battery in the proper manner!)

I wonder if the producers will also stop packaging their products in so much waste. That would be helpful too!

12:55PM PST on Nov 1, 2009

I know that most consumers would buy one if they are more affordable. I do think we have a responsibility in what we purchase and that as consumers we should use our money wisely, global impact, etc and try to get the companies to produce such products, we are after all the demand. It means that I have to save a lot longer for some items or just do without. But, in the end its worth it!

5:33AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

I thought I might mention at this time that the Emergency 911 system is also based on the location of land lines. That why counties all over the United States have changed street numbers. It is an illusions that cell phones can help one in an emergency.

5:17AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

I don't see the need for this type of telephones and while it is still undetermined that these devices disorient bees in their navigational abilities, I won't buy any such device.

1:41PM PDT on Oct 31, 2009

I don't want to upgrade my mobile at frequent intervals - if it does what I want there isn't any point. The one I use now is about 6 years old. I bought it second-hand to replace the phone I had previously, only because the batteries of the older phone had become completely useless. And I was keeping that phone going by getting parts for it from other phones that people had no further use for.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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