Sony Ericsson to go green(er)

My first reaction to corporate pitches such as this is often suspicion but it’s hard to argue against reducing the corporate footprint of such a major player in the mobile handset industry. Greenpeace raises a good point that the company could do more to offer recycling centers around the world but even still, it’s encouraging to see business listening and acting appropriately without having to be forced. What a novel concept.

Sony Ericsson sells around 100m phones a year globally and wants to have a series of green improvements in all its phones by 2011. More than 31m phones were bought in the UK in 2008.

Most of the CO2 reductions in the two new handsets come from a significant reduction in the amount of paper that comes with the phone. The packaging is smaller and the user manual has been replaced with an electronic version contained on the phone itself. “The major benefit to the environment is the reduction of paper weight in transportation,” said Mats Pellback-Scharp, head of the corporate sustainability office at Sony Ericsson. “Compared to the same product from the year before, we save 90% of the paper shipped to each customer. That’s 3kg of CO2, 15% of the carbon footprint of the complete phone.”

For older phones from the company, the box and manual weighed in at 550g. This has been reduced now to 42g and means that, more than 1m phones, Sony Ericsson will save 350 tonnes of paper, around 13,000 trees or 7,500 cubic metres of wood.

Inside the box, there are no plastic bags to wrap the various components and 80% of the hard plastics used on the phone are recycled. The company has also halved the amount of solvents needed for the paints by using water-soluble inks.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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