An uptake in the number of smartphones coupled with their low green credentials has led to a pressing case for such accreditation.

Handsets contain hazardous substances, have low recycling rates and are discarded more regularly than other IT equipment such as computers.

As a result, sustainability certification company TCO Development has seen a gap in the market and has addressed the issue with a new certification providing smartphone buyers with an easier way to choose devices that meet criteria for minimal environmental impact.

Necessary criteria to meet under the certification will include the minimisation of hazardous substances such as heavy metals, beryllium and phthalates and the inclusion of an easily replaceable battery.

TCO Development, which has focused on sustainable IT for computers, displays and other IT products intended for professional use for the last 20 years, says its new certification for smartphones is a natural progression.

Smartphones now feature PC-like power and functionality and have a worldwide annual sales growth of around 50%, with an estimated 1 billion to be sold during 2014.

However, such explosive growth brings with it new sustainability challenges, according to the company.

TCO Development director of product certification Niclas Rydell said: “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 world are deepening their commitment to sustainability in all aspects of their business, including the products they purchase. This certification will provide an extra assurance to buyers that the smartphones they choose can also meet their sustainability goals.”

Conor McGlone

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