Mobile 2.0: Tom Raftery on Mobile Sustainability

Drivers for sustainability: climate change (we're all fucked) and the business case (sustainable companies tend to outperform their competitors).

ICT could reduce 15% CO2 emissions globally: through 1bn PCs, 1.2bn landlines, 1.4bn internet users, 4bn mobile users. So mobile is the target for this stuff.

Handset manufacturers are doing sod all: they all have "a green phone".

Many carriers don't mention sustainability initiatives: O2 have a reasonable site, Telefonica and 3 don't.

What are developers doing? Clearstandards have an iPhone app to calculate carbon footprint. 3rdWhale, MobiMonster also get a mention - the latter reduces energy usage of phone. But nothing really significant.

What if:

  • Manufacturers made phones to last 6y not 6m? 60% of a phones carbon footprint comes from manufacture. Rent phones, don't buy them.
  • Phones were made from biodegradables?
  • USB chargers were standard?
  • Operators switched to e-billing?
  • Operators shared networks?
  • Developers used mobile platform to build apps which mae a difference?
  • Grid computing client apps were made for mobiles?

I wonder... How does mobile compare to PC - are phones implicitly more energy-conservative? And what specifically can developers do?