This is an old press release and the information may be outdated

Find our latest press releases here

TCO Development has announced the expansion of its worldwide sustainability certification for IT products to include smartphones. The new certification will provide smartphone buyers and users with an easier way to choose devices that meet criteria for socially responsible manufacturing, minimal environmental impact as well as ergonomic design.

For over 20 years TCO Development has pioneered advancements in sustainable IT through it environmental and quality certifications for computers, displays and other IT products intended for professional use. Known around the world, the TCO Certified designation has helped business and public sector buyers choose IT products that feature sustainability attributes such as low environmental impact, superior ergonomic design and reduced energy consumption. Several criteria included in TCO Certified over the years have later been adopted into laws and regulations throughout the world.

In a natural next step in advancing sustainable IT, TCO Development is now planning the introduction of the smartphones certification. With their PC-like power and functionality and a worldwide annual sales growth around 50 percent, smartphones represent the fastest growing of all IT product categories. An estimated one billion smartphones will be sold during 2014.

But this explosive growth also brings with it new sustainability challenges that must be addressed. Smartphones contain hazardous substances and are replaced much more frequently than a computer for example. In the US the average user replaces their device every 18 months, and the recycling rate is alarmingly low. Resulting e-waste is a huge environmental and human health problem. In addition, a large proportion of smartphone manufacturing occurs in factories where working conditions and wages are sub-standard.

The focus areas of the certification will be to drive greater social responsibility into the manufacturing of smartphones as well as reduce their impact on the environment and human health. Examples of criteria include a manufacturer commitment to improved working conditions and compliance with international labour conventions as well as the minimization of hazardous substances such as heavy metals, beryllium and phthalates. Other key criteria eliminate the use of nickel – a common allergen – on smartphone surfaces, as well as require that a headset be supplied with the device. The smartphone should also be equipped with an easily replaceable battery and meet several criteria for display performance.

“This new certification will provide public and private sector organizations with a real opportunity to help bring about a more sustainable IT environment, says Niclas Rydell, Director of Product Certification at TCO Development. “When buyers demand that their smartphones are certified for sustainability, this sends a vital message to brands and manufacturers that these environmental and social issues are important. Organizations around the wo