Earlier in March, IDC’s Stephen Drake released some research on the sustainability of mobile operators - Worldwide Mobile Operator 2010 Vendor Profiles: A Green Analysis — An Evaluation of 10 Key Mobile Operators' Mobile Phone Sustainability Efforts (IDC #226277). Drake made an interesting note – that operators generally don’t produce mobile phones, but they are certainly instrumental in driving the sustainability behavior of those companies that do. According to his research, mobile
IDC's mobile operators' green ranking is based on an analysis of the handset sustainability efforts of mobile operators across the globe. The criteria focused on mobile operators' overall sustainable handset strategy, packaging, materials, energy, and end-of-life programs for mobile devices.
As a result of this analysis, IDC has identified the top green mobile operators (listed in alphabetical order) – AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Sprint, Telefónica, and Vodafone. Highlights of the top vendors' mobile device sustainability efforts include the following:
- AT&T – AT&T is introducing sustainability elements to the entire device portfolio.
- Deutsche Telekom -- Deutsche Telekom works with its suppliers to minimize the negative ecological and social effects resulting from the extraction of raw materials, such as those used in the manufacture of mobile phones.
- Sprint -- Sprint Nextel has focused more on bringing specific sustainable handsets to market, starting with the August 2009 introduction of the Samsung Reclaim.
- Telefónica -- In the summer of 2010, Telefónica's O2 division partnered with Forum for the Future to develop the United Kingdom's first "eco rating" for handsets in its portfolio.
- Vodafone -- Vodafone is working with suppliers and partners, as well as moving ahead with efforts to ensure minerals used in the production of devices are not sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
I’m going to take a closer look at Drake’s research and figure out what this means for manufacturers all along the value chain. But I expect I’ll find the same thing I find for those manufacturers and suppliers in Walmart and P&G’s value chains – how companies use IT applications in their current IT portfolio is changing, and these same companies are investing in new more sustainability-focused applications as well.