Juniper Research is predicting that the number of smartphones shipped per year is set to almost double over the next five years, and in its latest Green Handset & Tablet report it says the smartphone industry has the opportunity to save 30m tonnes in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in that time frame by tackling areas such as streamlining supply chain operations.
To put it in context, Juniper says 30m tonnes of GHG emissions from the smartphone sector is the equivalent of GHGs emitted by 5.3m cars in a year. That’s three out of every 100 cars worldwide, or that of a 99bn kilometre car journey.
“More than 30bn tonnes of CO2 are produced worldwide every year," said Daniel Ashdown, the author of the Green Handset & Tablet report.
According to Juniper’s analysis, with smartphones taking over from mass-market handsets, the industry will need to streamline its operations.
The report estimates that supply chain activities, such as raw material extraction, component manufacturing, device assembly and transportation, result in twice as much GHG emissions per smartphone, in comparison with other handsets.
Juniper’s research also looks into how smartphone vendors will be forced to adopt aggressive strategies to green their credentials, and fast.
For instance, the company is predicting that supply chain GHG emissions will reach 24m tonnes this year alone. Plus it is anticipating that the number of smartphones shipped per annum could nearly double over the next five years.
In the report, Juniper is also predicting that green handset shipments will reach 392m by 2017. It says this is more than 10 times the number it expects to be shipped in 2012.
Looking to mobile network operators, the report points to the role they can play with customer-facing positions to promote recycling initiatives and to provide eco-ratings at point-of-sale.
Juniper also looks at how vendors need to be thinking about data centres as part of the impact of smartphones and tablets.