Inexperienced Alliance Design for a round financial system methodology

To know whether or not new ecodesign measures to increase the lifespan of smartphones would have a big affect, analysts at PwC, who’re members of the Round Financial system Activity Power, assessed the environmental affect of manufacturing a cellphone relative to the affect of utilizing a cellphone. Specifically, we had been eager to grasp how the common annual affect would change if telephones had been stored for longer and so the manufacturing affect can be cut up over extra years. The impacts coated by this evaluation are: greenhouse gasoline emissions, water consumption and uncooked materials use.

The manufacturing section contains the extraction of uncooked supplies like metals, the processing of uncooked supplies, the manufacture of the smartphone and the transportation between manufacturing websites and to the purpose of sale. The use section impacts of a smartphone are the electrical energy used while charging in addition to community and knowledge utilization and the related impacts of those. These steps are outlined under.

Overarching assumptions

  1. The evaluation represents a generic cellphone: knowledge for a generic cellphone was used the place a reputable supply is obtainable; the place this was not obtainable and there have been higher knowledge for a model of cellphone, resembling an Apple iPhone, that was used as a substitute. The analysts had no desire for any model of cellphone, however there was extra present evaluation and knowledge obtainable for iPhones than different varieties of smartphone.
  2. The smartphone is assumed for use for 2 years, which is the usual lifetime a cellphone is stored in use in most smartphone research, and particularly within the life cycle evaluation chosen right here to estimate the carbon footprint. [1]

Greenhouse gases
The information factors and sources used to calculate the carbon footprint of the manufacturing and use of a cellphone are detailed under.

Section Footprint (kg CO2e)
Manufacturing 60 [1]
Direct use (charging) 4.875 per yr [1]
Oblique use (knowledge and networks) 1.31 kg per yr [2,3,4]

The oblique use affect was calculated utilizing a median knowledge use of seven.2GB/month [2] which equates to 86.4GB/yr. The full vitality use from knowledge centres and knowledge transmission is 0.065kwh/GB in line with the IEA [3] and so the whole vitality use per yr is 5.6kwh. This equates to 1.31kg CO2e annually utilizing the UK BEIS emission issue of 0.23 kgCO2e/kwh [4].

Water consumption

PwC discovered {that a} whole of 12,760 litres of water (1,460l blue, 3,720 inexperienced and seven,590l gray water) are required to supply the common smartphone [5]. It’s assumed that no water is used inside the use section.

Uncooked supplies

PwC took the proportion and weight of steel parts in a smartphone from Vice (2017) [6], who summarise the analysis included within the e-book The one system: a secret historical past of the iPhone by Mind Service provider. This evaluation simply seems to be on the manufacturing of steel parts for a smartphone, which contribute to 60 per cent of the cellphone’s weight.*


Steel ingredient Proportion of iPhone Weight in iPhone (g) Weight of ore to get quantity in iPhone (g)
Aluminium 0.2414 31.14 155.7 [7]
Arsenic 0 0.01 N/A
Gold 0.0001 0.014 2800 [8]
Bismuth 0.0002 0.02 N/A
Cobalt 0.0511 6.59 2196.67 [9]
Chromium 0.0383 4.94 13 [10]
Copper 0.0608 7.84 980 [11]
Iron 0.1444 18.63 38.81 [12]
Gallium 0.0001 0.01 N/A
Potassium 0.0025 0.33 N/A
Lithium 0.0067 0.87 21.75 [13]
Magnesium 0.0051 0.65 N/A
Manganese 0.0023 0.29 0.83 [14]
Molybdenum 0.0002 0.02 6.67 [15]
Nickel 0.021 2.72 247.271.00 [16]
Lead 0.0003 0.04 1.00 [17]
Tin 0.0051 0.66 6.28 [18]
Tantalum 0.0002 0.02 1.29 [19]
Titanium 0.0023 0.3 N/A
Tungsten 0.0002 0.02 2.67 [20]
Vanadium 0.0003 0.04 4 [21]
Zinc 0.0054 0.69 10.62 [22]

* Please word: weights and percentages of parts will range by cellphone make and mannequin. For instance, some estimates for aluminium percentages are a lot decrease (round 14 per cent). If the opposite steel weights had been to stay fixed, this might imply a change in ore required from 6.49kg to six.55kg.
For every steel ingredient, a supply was discovered to estimate the burden of ore required to supply the burden of steel required for a smartphone. The place a spread was supplied, the common weight was taken. This was not potential to search out for all metals, however 98 per cent of the burden of metals in a smartphone have been coated. The full weight of ore required for every steel part was added as much as estimate 6.5kg of ore being required to be mined by to supply the metals in a smartphone.

Calculating the annual affect of extending the use section

The analysts added up the manufacturing and use section impacts (greenhouse gases and water consumption) to calculate the whole environmental affect throughout the 2 yr lifespan of a typical smartphone. They then calculated the whole affect for 3, 4 and 5 years of smartphone possession by including the equal variety of years’ price of use section affect. This was then divided by the variety of years of use to grasp the greenhouse gasoline or water footprint per yr of smartphone life.

Estimating the whole variety of telephones bought in 2019

The variety of smartphones bought within the UK in 2019 was estimated from taking the variety of iPhones bought within the UK (7,100,000 [23]), which account for 50 per cent of the UK market share [24] of cellphone gross sales. Because of this in whole, 14,200,000 telephones are estimated to have been bought in 2019.

Estimating the manufacturing environmental affect of all telephones bought in 2019

The water, greenhouse gasoline and uncooked materials manufacturing affect was multiplied by the estimate for all telephones bought in 2019 to grasp the whole affect of manufacturing these telephones. A comparator was then created for every of those figures by evaluating the amount or mass to that of frequent objects. The comparators and sources are given under:

Environmental affect Comparator Supply
Water 72,477 Olympic sized swimming swimming pools Quantity of water in Olympic sized pool [25]
Greenhouse gases 664,132 vehicles pushed for 1 yr Common kgCO2e emitted per km travelled by a median automobile registered in 2015 within the UK [26]

Common miles travelled by a automobile within the UK per yr [27]
Uncooked supplies 7,081 London double decker buses Weight of London double decker bus [28]

Evaluating the affect of poor enforcement of present requirements
The calculations for the pointless UK emissions that outcome from merchandise that don’t adjust to minimal requirements are based mostly on the belief that the UK, like European member states, is lacking out on 10 per cent of emission financial savings that ought to be anticipated. [29] The determine of 800,000 tonnes of pointless emissions was then transformed the variety of common vehicles on the street utilizing the identical comparators used for the evaluation of telephones’ impacts [26, 27] to succeed in the determine of the pointless emissions equalling these from 623,599 common vehicles.

Evaluating completely different merchandise receiving the identical vitality effectivity score

To analyse the variations in vitality consumption between merchandise underneath the identical vitality effectivity score, Inexperienced Alliance workers researched home equipment available for purchase from the UK’s largest electricals retailer by market share. [30] We checked out washing machines, fridges and televisions, as examples of frequent family home equipment.

Merchandise from the best obtainable vitality effectivity score for every equipment had been included within the evaluation. For laundry machines, the best score was A+++, for which there have been 175 merchandise obtainable for buy. Probably the most vitality environment friendly fridges, of which there have been 9 merchandise on sale, had been additionally rated A+++, whereas the best vitality effectivity score for televisions was A+, with 123 merchandise listed on the web site. On the time of knowledge assortment, there was one A++ labelled tv on the market, however given the comparative nature of our evaluation, we selected to have a look at the A+ class, the place the pattern dimension was a lot higher.

For every product, data on vitality effectivity score, retail worth, annual vitality consumption (kWh) and dimension (load capability (kg) for laundry machines; storage capability (litres) for fridges; and display sizes (inches) for televisions), was collected. All product data was collected in September 2020, and for merchandise the place a reduced sale worth was listed on the web site, the unique full worth was recorded. Annual vitality consumption was transformed to annual operating prices to current a extra consumer-relevant worth, based mostly on a conversion utilizing the common electrical energy price of 14.37p/kWh. [31]

For our evaluation in the principle report, the merchandise with the best and lowest annual vitality consumption (measured in kWh) inside every equipment class had been then chosen for comparability. This was designed for example the numerous variations in annual vitality consumption between home equipment labelled with the identical vitality effectivity score. We additionally carried out some further analyses to evaluate whether or not such variation was noticed even when controlling for dimension variation inside vitality effectivity rankings. For TVs and washing machines, the place the next pattern quantity allowed such an train, we discovered that even inside dimension teams, there was usually massive variation between the best and lowest vitality utilizing merchandise.



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  2. 451 Analysis, 2017, ‘Common month-to-month mobile knowledge utilization to exceed 6.5GB by 2021’, obtainable at: https://451research.com/weblog/1662-featured-data-1
  3. IEA, 2020, ‘The carbon footprint of streaming video: fact-checking the headlines’, obtainable at: www.iea.org/commentaries/the-carbon-footprint-of-streaming-video-fact-checking-the-headlines
  4. BEIS, 2020, ‘Authorities conversion elements for firm reporting of greenhouse gasoline emissions’, obtainable at: www.gov.uk/authorities/collections/government-conversion-factors-for-company-reporting
  5. Mates of the Earth and Trucost, 2015, Thoughts your step: the land and water footprints of on a regular basis merchandise , obtainable at: www.twosides.data/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/mind-your-step-report-76803.pdf
  6. Vice, 2017, ‘Every part that’s inside your iPhone’, obtainable at: www.vice.com/en/article/433wyq/everything-thats-inside-your-iphone
  7. Aluminium chief, no date, ‘How aluminium is produced’, obtainable at: www.aluminiumleader.com/manufacturing/how_aluminium_is_produced/
  8. World Financial institution, 2019, Digging beneath the floor: an exploration of the web advantages of mining in southern Africa, obtainable at: http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/506751562777260359/textual content/Digging-Beneath-the-Floor-An-Exploration-of-the-Web-Advantages-of-Mining-in-Southern-Africa.txt
  9. US Geological Survey, 2017, ‘Chapter F: cobalt’ in Crucial mineral sources of the US: financial and environmental geology and prospects for future provide, obtainable at: https://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1802/f/pp1802f.pdf
  10. Y E Lee, 2001, ‘Ferroalloys: manufacturing and use in steel-making’, in Encyclopedia of supplies: science and expertise, obtainable at: www.sciencedirect.com/subjects/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/chromite#:~:textual content=Thepercent20chromiumpercent20contentpercent20rangespercent20from,togetherpercent20chromitepercent20orepercent20andpercent20quartz.
  11. World Ocean Overview, no date, ‘How a lot steel does the ore comprise?’ obtainable at: https://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-3/mineral-resources/deposits-and-markets/how-much-metal-does-the-ore-contain/
  12. Britannica, no date, ‘Ores’, obtainable at: www.britannica.com/expertise/iron-processing/Ores
  13. SGS Minerals Companies UK, 2010, ‘Laborious rock lithium processing’, obtainable at: www.sgs.com/~/media/International/Paperwork/Flyerspercent20andpercent20Leaflets/SGS-MIN-WA109-Laborious-Rock-Lithium-Processing-EN-11.pdf
  14. US Geological Survey truth sheet, 2014, ‘Manganese: it turns iron into metal (and does a lot extra)’, obtainable at: https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2014/3087/pdf/fs2014-3087.pdf
  15. Britannica, op cit, obtainable at: www.britannica.com/expertise/molybdenum-processing#ref82041
  16. British Geological Survey, 2008, ‘Nickel’ mineral profile, obtainable at: www2.bgs.ac.uk/mineralsUK/statistics/mineralProfiles.html
  17. Britannica, op cit, obtainable at: www.britannica.com/expertise/lead-processing#ref82076
  18. Britannica, op cit, obtainable at: www.britannica.com/expertise/tin-processing#ref82118
  19. British Geological Survey, 2011, ‘Niobium-Tantalum’ mineral profile, obtainable at: www2.bgs.ac.uk/mineralsUK/statistics/mineralProfiles.html
  20. British Geological Survey, 2011, ‘Tungsten’ mineral profile, obtainable at: www2.bgs.ac.uk/mineralsUK/statistics/mineralProfiles.html
  21. Vanadium Corp, 2016, ‘World-class Vanadium deposits’, obtainable at: www.vanadiumcorp.com/information/trade/world-class-vanadium-deposits/
  22. Britannica, op cit, obtainable at: www.britannica.com/expertise/zinc-processing/Ores
  23. Finder, 2020, ‘iPhone gross sales statistics’, obtainable at: www.finder.com/uk/iphone-sales-statistics
  24. Statcounter, 2020, ‘Cellular vendor market share United Kingdom’, obtainable at: https://gs.statcounter.com/vendor-market-share/cell/united-kingdom/2019
  25. Phinizy Heart, 2016, ‘Olympic swimming swimming pools’, obtainable at: https://phinizycenter.org/olympic-swimming-pools/#:~:textual content=Itpercent20turnspercent20outpercent20thatpercent20Olympic,waterpercent20orpercent20aboutpercent20660percent2C000percent20gallons.
  26. Division for Transport, 2015, ‘New automobile carbon dioxide emissions’ obtainable at: www.gov.uk/authorities/publications/new-car-carbon-dioxide-emissions#:~:textual content=Thepercent20averagepercent20carbonpercent20dioxidepercent20emissions,ofpercent20carbonpercent20dioxidepercent20perpercent20kilometre.
  27. Division for Transport, 2019, Nationwide journey survey: England 2018, obtainable at: https://belongings.publishing.service.gov.uk/authorities/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/823068/national-travel-survey-2018.pdf
  28. Metropolis Monitor, 2015, ‘‘’A bus designed for individuals who by no means take buses”: how London’s Routemaster turned a £300m white elephant’, obtainable at: https://citymonitor.ai/transport/bus-designed-people-who-never-take-buses-how-londons-routemaster-became-300m-white
  29. European Fee, 2016, Ecodesign working plan, 2016-2019
  30. Retail Economics, accessed September 2020, ‘Prime 10 UK retailers: electricals sector’, obtainable at: ‘www.retaileconomics.co.uk/top-10-retailers-electricals
  31. UK Energy, accessed September 2020, ‘Examine vitality costs per kWh’, obtainable at: ‘www.ukpower.co.uk/home_energy/tariffs-per-unit-kwh

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