Major UK mobile phone brand O2 has said that technology is helping to make reuse of goods and waste prevention possible.
It also revealed that by not offering a charger, it was able to make resource use savings.
As part of its Think Big Blueprint that outlines its sustainability goals, the company, which is owned by Telefónica, has highlighted how an important part of its strategy is to emphasise reuse and waste prevention services through use of mobile technology.
Telefónica UK head of sustainability Bill Eyres said: “Are we at the edge of a revolution that will see today’s social and economic systems transformed on a scale that changes the face of capitalism for good?
“Many sustainability campaigners believe so. And if their predictions are right, we’re heading for a world returned to some age-old socio-economic models – sharing, swapping, bartering and lending, albeit made possible by the 21st century phenomenon that is anywhere, anytime connectivity.
“Collaborative consumption is coming of age, I believe, with digital enterprises such as Zipcar, Airbnb, Zopa and Streetbank at the forefront of a new movement.
“It’s a trend that effectively ‘dematerialises’ goods and services – everything from cars to music and financial loans to everyday tools – allowing consumers to locate and share the things they want and need at the touch of a button.
“Here at O2 – a digital business intent on putting sustainability at the heart of the strategy – we’re excited by the opportunity to help fast-forward the potential.”
In its Think Big Blueprint sustainability report for 2012, the first year it has begun its sustainable reporting, O2 revealed that 71 per cent of its energy use came from renewable sources and it is working towards a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from the energy use of its retail stores and offices. So far it has reduced energy use in its shops by 14.2 per cent.
The company is also working to make its Charger Out of the Box scheme the new normal by 2015. This involves looking to reduce the 100 million unused phone chargers in the UK by giving customers a charger free phone that comes with a USB to micro-USB cable that can be used with existing chargers or with a PC.
During the pilot, 82 per cent of customers bought phones without a charger.
As this scheme rolls out, O2 expects to see manufacturing and packaging resource savings as well as a reduction in transport savings due to 70 per cent of people having an adaptable phone charger.
Although it fell short of reaching its old phone recycling target by 30,000 phones through its O2 recycle scheme, it still managed to process 289,000 phones and gadgets in 2012.
It also revealed that it is working on a smaller, universal packaging design for its mobile phones.