Capitalising on circular economy in the mobile phone industry
Mobile phones are often held up as the example of the linear economy. Highly valuable and mostly unrecoverable materials produced into a small device with a short lifespan, which generally ends up as weight in a person’s drawers. However, in the first volume of the Towards the circular economy report series, mobile phones were identified as a significant circular economy business opportunity, and recent sales figures may be vindicating that research.
A recent article written by Jocelyn Timperley for Business Green identified that the smartphone industry is expected to enjoy “only” single-digit growth in 2016. Moreover, there are signs that obsolescence occurs less quickly and that the average device is being retained by users for longer.
Another report released by Green Alliance on Tuesday argues that the mobile phone sector, specifically looking through the lens of work done with O2, “growth model, built on ever increasing sales of new devices, is reaching its limits”.
It’s an evolving picture, but it would appear that there are innovation opportunities to transform business models and the overall proposition offered to customers. Perhaps a part of that new framework will be models that better preserve the value of existing stocks of resources.