A survey by mobile network, Three, found eight in ten enterprises are happy with the functionality that smartphones provide for work-based tasks while two-thirds say these devices are now crucial for job roles. With mobile device usage increasing annually, it is important for businesses to make sustainable choices, for maximising budgets and productivity and helping the environment.

What makes a smartphone ethical?

Ethical mobile phones are made with sustainable materials via environmentally friendly processes and have recycling and the reduction of waste as a core tenet. They often include removable batteries and are easily repairable and exclude materials from war zones.

“Truly ethical phones are less about purchasing the latest kit and more about making the most of what we have. Gone are the days of upgrading every year; our reliance on technology is only going to increase, and providers need to make products that are more reliable, stronger and more efficient,” Klyk founder, Asad Hamir adds.

Sustainable options for business

Business owners can either opt to buy new smartphone models from a company that supports sustainable processes or refurbished devices. The latter reduce carbon footprint as they have already been bought and sold which lowers the demand for new products. Refurbished phones may also come in recyclable, minimal packaging.

As Mr Hamir noted earlier, the concept of ethicality also extends to smartphone usage. You should use robust cases, screen protectors, existing or second-hand chargers, update software regularly, and have insurance in place to cover repairs so the life span of a device is extended as much as possible.

Ethical smartphone options

iPhone 11 Pro

Apple has been working hard to make its devices more sustainable in recent years and its latest flagship, the iPhone 11 Pro now makes use of rare earth elements and 100% recycled tin. Unlike many Android equivalents, Apple commits to supporting its devices for five years with software updates and provides a recyclable scheme for users when they eventually upgrade which reduces landfill.

The iPhone 11 Pro packs in high-end specs with the latest A13 Bionic processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB to 512GB storage options and a ‘Super Retina XDR’ OLED display measuring either 5.8 or 6.5 inches. It went on sale in the UK in September 2019 and is priced from £1,049.

Fairphone 3

Fairphone has been developing smartphones that “cares for people and planet” since 2013 and its latest model, the Fairphone 3 ups the ante with mid-range specs and a modular form factor designed for simple repairs and maintenance. According to the company’s CEO, Evan Gouwens, “portability and robustness are super important”.

The Fairphone comes equipped with Android 9, a 12-megapixel camera, 5.65 inch full HD display and 64GB storage and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor. It is currently available for preorder and will go on sale in the UK for around £408.

Other alternatives

The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Company index gives a ‘high score’ to Blackberry and Nokia so both of these manufacturers are also excellent options. Business are always going to need mobile phones, there is no denying that and if you need a solid, affordable model, the Nokia 5.1 is currently available for around £130-£150. Eco-friendly smartphones will not only benefit your business, but your phone will help the planet. Sustainability starts with the manufacturing process, all the way through to the day-to-day usage and disposing of the phone. Whether you’re trying to make small lifestyle changes, or you’re going all-out, buying an ethical phone is a great place to start.