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.
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:
- Extended product life, including replaceable battery and availability of spare parts
- Design for recycling