The new Greenpeace survey shows a growing consumer demand for smartphones that are made to last, don’t contain hazardous chemicals and are easily repaired and recycled.

As part of Greenpeace East Asia’s True Innovation campaign, the survey posed a series of questions to 1000 adults in each of six major smartphone markets; USA, Russia, Mexico, Germany, China and South Korea. Questions focused on device ownership and upgrades, sustainability attributes consumers want, as well as repair and recycling habits.

Findings show that a relatively low percentage of consumers – especially in Germany and USA – opt to repair their phones and that getting the latest device continues to be the primary driver in over a third of new phone sales. At the same time, over half the respondents agreed that phone manufacturers release new models too frequently.

From a sustainability perspective, a majority of survey respondents also said that battery life, easy repair and long use life are important features of a smartphone. Overwhelmingly, consumers also want their smartphones to free from hazardous chemicals.


Key Findings – Greenpeace Survey

  • More than one third of respondents answered they purchased their most recent device because they wanted the most updated model, not because their existing device was lost or damaged.
  • Respondents owned multiple phones – both in use and not –ranging from an average of 3.22 devices per capita in Germany to 5.55 in Russia.
  • Over half of the respondents answered that mobile phone brands release new models more often than is needed
  • 4 in 5 respondents believe it is important for a smartphone to be easily repaired, while a relatively low percentage of respondents in some countries, e.g. USA and Germany, actually repair a damaged device.
  • 4 in 5 respondents think it’s important that smartphones are not made using hazardous chemicals.
  • Over 90% of respondents said that a smartphone should be designed to last.
Source: Greenpeace, Is it Time for the True Innovation

Ask for TCO Certified when purchasing smartphones

The good news is that there is a way to ask for more sustainable devices – but buyers need to take action. Asking your brand or supplier to deliver products that comply with TCO Certified Smartphones plays a direct role in influencing industry in a more responsible, sustainable direction.

TCO Certified Smartphones includes life cycle sustainability criteria that are designed to meet several of the challenges outlined in the Greenpeace report: