Given that mobile phones are such an increasingly large part of American lives -- the Pew Internet & American Life organization recently reported that roughly 95 percent of U.S. adults use one -- I've been thinking more and more about which wireless telecommunications carriers and mobile handset/smartphone makers are doing their part from a green technology standpoint.
The latest proclamation along these lines comes from Verizon Wireless, which has just joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Partner program with a pledge to improve the energy efficiency of its operations -- notably its retail stores. So far, 75 Verizon Wireless stores have earned an Energy Star designation for "superior" energy performance.
Under the new program, the carrier has promised to:
- Use Energy Star resources for its energy management strategy
- Help raise public visibility for energy efficiency
- And -- this is the biggie in my opinion -- measure the performance of its stores, switching centers and cell sites throughout the United States
In mind, it's that last goal that is most intriguing -- because Verizon is a huge force in mobility, and because the energy efficiency of switching stations and cell sites will increasingly be scrutinized as more and more and more of us use mobile phones. According to the statistics on the Verizon Wireless Web site, the company has approximately 93.2 million wireless phone customers, 175 switching stations and 2,000 company-owned stores and kiosks across 49 states. That's a lot of potential energy to save.
Incidentally, Verizon Wireless has also just launched what is being called its first CarbonFree smart phone, the Motorola CITRUS. The phone gets its designation from CarbonFund. What makes it greener than most? The housing includes 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic and dispenses with PVCs and BFRs.
When I searched the database of Energy Star Partners, the only other U.S. wireless carrier that was listed there (as far as I could tell) was AT&T. That company's efforts have centered largely on renewable energy installations and the greening of its service fleet.
Still, I believe that green credentials will increasingly become a factor in mobile phone one-up-man-ship. Sprint, in particular, has been making a lot of noise about this topic, pointing to its handset recycling programs, digital billing programs and use of renewable energy for cell towers.
Here are some of my previous blogs about those efforts:
- Sprint: Give us your tired mobile phones, we'll recycle them
- Less print for Sprint in bid to meet 40% paper reduction goal
- Sprint CEO: Prioritizing greener wireless service, mobile gadgets
I'll leave you with this question: How green is your mobile phone? I'll be repeating the query often in 2011