In the next five years, an additional one billion people are estimated to become mobile phone subscribers. At the same time, the average lifespan of a mobile phone is decreasing significantly. The rapid evolution of mobile technology, supported by marketing and promotion campaigns, is making mobile phones prematurely obsolete and transforming the device into a disposable product. The mobile phone industry is an extremely competitive and litigious sector, and it is associated with conflict minerals, labour rights issues and unsustainable e-waste practices.
The high tech electronics sector is characterised by a global value chain that integrates the economies of developing countries to the European economy through the lifecycle of high-tech products. In order to understand the challenges to policy coherence for development, arising from trade and finance activities, it is important to understand the environmental and social externalities that occur in these product lifecycles, how they are maintained, and how they can be internalised or dissolved.
Research towards sustainable mobile phones includes the whole lifecycle, from conception as technology design to the mining of minerals in Africa and South America to make its materials; from the manufacturing sites in Asia to mobile phone use in Europe; and finally from repair, recycling and discarding.Read more
The Sustainable Mobile Phones community is curated by Maja van der Velden and Mark Taylor of the Sustainable Mobile Phones work package (WP4) of the SMART project. Research papers and research data pertaining to topics in any of the lifecycle phases of the mobile phones, with a clear focus on addressing social and/or environmental un/sustainability will be accepted.