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How O2’s smartphone recycling drive is strengthening its consumer relations

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

In a sector dominated by a frequent upgrades business model, mobile operator O2 has tweaked its services to place second-hand devices back into the market and has called on other manufacturers to collaborate to tackle e-waste.

Last summer, the company launched its “Like New” initiative which places second-hand phones back into the market under a five-point grading system

Last summer, the company launched its “Like New” initiative which places second-hand phones back into the market under a five-point grading system

Consumers fail to fit into a one-size-fits-all bracket. While younger generations are intent on pocketing the latest smartphone, those less digitally native are content with a phone that caters to their needs rather than their wants.

The desires of the former have created a yearly cycle of smartphone upgrades and a booming market for manufacturers, with shipments expected to reach 1.84bn by 2020 compared to 1.48bn in 2016. But, this is actually a slowdown from recent years, which recorded a 27% increase in 2014, according to the International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

A portion of this slowdown can be attributed to a move towards two-year contracts for smartphones, but companies such as O2 are highlighting the economic case of mobile phone reuse to both the private sector and its consumers.

O2 launched its O2 Recycle initiative in 2009 and the firm’s corporate responsibility and environment coordinator Rhea Horlock believes that it is the multitude of options available for customers under the scheme that has helped it recover more than two million devices.

Speaking exclusively ahead of her appearance at the edie Live exhibition next month Horlock said: “Rather than constantly pushing people to upgrade, we’re giving them options outside of this and almost rewarding them by giving them a lower bill. We’re constantly trying to put the customer first and we fully realise that there are two buckets for customers.

“There’s people that do want the latest tech and the most up-to-date thing whenever it comes out, and we’ll create a cycle that works for them while still responsibly looking after the devices that they don’t want anymore. This also feeds the other market of people who aren’t interested, they just want their phone to do the basics and are happier to keep an older model. As a business with have a model in place that will support them to do that.”

Since its introduction, O2 Recycle has saved the company’s customers more than £135m by encouraging them to hand-in older smartphone models. This has reduced emissions by 10,000 tonnes and slashed water use by 26 million litres in the process.

The recycling scheme forms part of O2’s Think Big programme, which aims to help customers create positive impacts across the globe. O2 claims that the frequency of recycling for old mobile models saw £51 paid back to consumers every minute in 2015 and 95% of the phones are refurbished and re-sold.

Last summer, the company launched its “Like New” initiative which places these second-hand phones back into the market under a five-point grading system. The systems offers different prices and warranties based on the condition of the device and is catering for a growing market of consumers more concerned about the price and performance of a smartphone, rather than the latest model.

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Maximising value: edie to host free webinar on sustainability reporting

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Individuals and organisations looking to improve their sustainability reports and increase engagement with key stakeholders are are being encouraged to tune into a free, live edie webinar next month, focusing on maximising the value of reporting.

The 'Maximising the value of your sustainability report' webinar will take place on 4 May at 11am

The ‘Maximising the value of your sustainability report’ webinar will take place on 4 May at 11am

Taking place on Thursday 4 May at 11am (BST), this exclusive interactive webinar, in association with DNV GL, explores what ‘getting it right’ looks like when it comes to developing a sustainability report.

REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR

With public trust in Government arguably at an all-time low, increasingly consumers and other stakeholders are looking to UK plc for leadership on issues such as sustainability, where Brexit uncertainty has created a policy vacuum.

A company’s sustainability report can be an effective way of demonstrating that leadership and to drive the agenda and effect real change. But, for an audience with ever-higher expectations and adept at spotting spin, getting it right has never been more important, nor balancing the needs of the company with the needs of the stakeholders more critical.

This expert webinar will explore:

  • The fundamentals – getting it right from the start
  • How to avoid the reporting treadmill and see the bigger picture
  • Global goals and context – from SDGs to science-based targets
  • Making it credible – making the most of assurance

The webinar will include presentations from leading experts:

  • Luke Nicholls, editor of edie, will chair the webinar.
  • Rachel Thompson, sustainability manager for Gatwick Airport, will explain the process she and her team have gone through to develop and deliver Gatwick’s annual ‘Decade of Change’ reports, which incorporate a range of bold targets across all areas of sustainability and CSR.
  • Kate Bruintjes, director of sustainability at DNV GL, will provide an overview of how to maximise the value of sustainability reports, including the importance of effective assurance methods to drive engagement and increase transparency.

Incorporating expert sessions and live audience Q&A, the webinar is free to watch live at 11am on 4 May, and will be available on-demand afterwards.

REGISTER HERE

If you have any questions for the expert speakers about how to maximise the value of your sustainability report, please leave a comment below and we will do our best to ask them all during the Q&A section of the webinar.

Sadiq Khan urged to explore plastic bottle return scheme

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

The London Assembly Environment Committee (LAEC) has called on the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to fulfil his promise of becoming the ‘greenest Mayor London has ever had’ by exploring the viability of a return scheme for plastic bottles, with a view to a city-wide trial.

Around 60% of bottles are currently recycled in the UK, but DRS could increase recycling rates to 98%. Image: Thames21

Around 60% of bottles are currently recycled in the UK, but DRS could increase recycling rates to 98%. Image: Thames21

The LAEC has today (13 April) published its response to the environmental impacts of single-use plastic bottles in the form of its Bottled Water report. With the report highlighting that plastic bottles account 10% of all litter found in the Thames, the LAEC has called on the Mayor to promote deposit/return schemes (DRS) and improve access to water refilling stations across the city.

Environment Committee Chair, Leonie Cooper AM, said: “Plastic waste is out of control in London. It litters our parks, pollutes the Thames, harms marine life, and adds waste to London’s landfill sites, which may be full by 2025.

“We have to turn the situation around. Firstly, Londoners need an alternative to buying bottles of water – this is a crucial part of the solution. Tap water needs to be more readily available. Secondly, we need to improve our recycling of plastic bottles. Electors heard Sadiq Khan pledge to be the ‘greenest Mayor London has ever had’, now it’s time to fulfil that promise by addressing our thirst for plastic bottled water.”

Around 60% of bottles are currently recycled in the UK and industry data shows that bottled-water production has grown from 1,574m litres in 2008 to 2,246m litres in 2015. That equates to around 3.37 plastic bottles per person per week in London alone.

The committee, who first discussed solutions to plastic bottle waste with the Greater London Authority (GLA), WRAP and the #OneLess campaign in February, believes that DRS could be modelled on those used in Europe to reduce plastic waste and boost London’s recycling rates.

The report notes that DRS offers “an incentive for returning plastic bottles by adding a reclaimable amount to the price of bottled drinks” and has implored the Mayor to work with key stakeholders and London businesses to examine the feasibility of a return system.

Coca-Cola has recently announced it supports testing a deposit return service for drinks cans and bottles, although new Greenpeace statistics have revealed that the firm is producing more than 100 billion plastic bottles each year.

Studies on European systems show that DRS could increase recycling rates of the bottles to 98% and has already shown relative success in Germany. In comparison, London boroughs account for some of the worst recycling rates in England. Newham borough, for example, had the lowest recycling rate in England, at 15% in 2015.

Based on the success of the examination, the report recommends that the Mayor offers London as a pilot site for Government backed DRS, which could eventually be rolled out nationwide.

Refilling stations

The report also notes that improving access to free drinking water throughout the city could reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles in circulation. The LAEC has called on the Mayor to encourage community water refills schemes, allowing Londoners to fill up bottles at participating businesses and public venues.

Alongside installing more water refilling stations in the capital, the report calls on the Mayor to promote apps that help Londoners locate businesses willing to provide free water refills.

A trial similar to this is already available in Bristol, where cafes, shops, hotels and businesses are encouraged to let the public refill water bottles for free. London Zoo and Selfridges have conducted similar schemes.

Commenting on the findings of the report, London recycling business First Mile’s chief executive Bruce Bratley said: “Plastic bottles are clogging up the Thames because municipal recycling bins on the streets and in parks are low in number, inconsistent in design and there’s confusion about what can go into them.

“Recycling doesn’t have to be so complex; not only does the UK have the technology to separate plastic easily in mixed recycling, but we are quickly finding ways to recycle more than we ever have before. In my opinion, better services coupled with better education and communication will help to solve this issue.”

Shell admits money laundering

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Shell has admitted for the first time it dealt with a convicted money-launderer when negotiating access to a vast oil field in Nigeria.

It comes after emails were published showing Shell negotiated with Dan Etete, who was later convicted of money laundering in a separate case.

Shell and an Italian oil company paid $1.3bn (£1bn) to the Nigerian government for access to the field.

Investigators claim $1.1bn was passed to a firm controlled by Mr Etete.

Message from CAPS

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

I wanted to update you on the South Lakes Safari Zoo campaign. I am disappointed to say that David Gill, the owner of the zoo, has entered an appeal against the council’s decision to refuse his licence. Whilst this appeal is being considered, the zoo remains open.
The second application for a zoo licence from Cumbria Zoo Co. is still to be considered. Just yesterday it was revealed that zoo inspectors recommended that the application is approved – a recommendation we believe lets the animals down drastically.

Read the latest on South Lakes Safari Zoo here.

We have submitted our objections to the council and will be attending the licence hearing to speak against it and speak out for the animals who have suffered so much at this zoo!

Whatever the outcome, this tragic situation has had a big impact on the public, opening their eyes to the suffering animals experience in zoos. We are seeing attitudes change towards zoos more and more!

I am pleased to report that two travel companies are taking action against cruel captivity – ‘Responsible Travel’ will no longer promote zoos whilst ‘Thomas Cook’ will no longer sell tickets to 16 animal attractions. Amazing!

You can help change more hearts and minds!

On 14th-16th April it’s our annual Zoo Awareness Weekend! We will be releasing some new research over the weekend so keep an eye on our facebook and twitter pages.

There will be plenty you can do over the weekend in your area or online. Email campaigns@captiveanimals.org if you need any advice or resources.

Together we are making change for animals in zoos – one day they will be free!

Ivory prices hit new low

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

The Thursday, March 30 New York Times front page pointed to a page 8 story titled, “Ivory Prices May Mean a Reprieve for Elephants.” The article, by Jeffrey Gettleman, opens with:
“The price of ivory in China, the world’s biggest market for elephant tusks, has fallen sharply, which may spell a reprieve from the intense poaching of the past decade.

“According to a report released on Wednesday by Save the Elephants, a respected wildlife group in Kenya, the price of ivory is less than half of what it was just three years ago, showing that demand is plummeting.

“Tougher economic times, a sustained advocacy campaign and China’s apparent commitment to shutting down its domestic ivory trade this year were the drivers of the change, elephant experts said.”

Then today’s Friday, March 31 New York Times included an article, by Jim Dwyer, titled, “A Colossal Step in the Pursuit of Ivory Sales.” (Page A18.) It opens with a description of an attempt by US dealers, at Landmark Gallery, to sell off banned elephant ivory under the guise of ivory from extinct mammoths. It restates the wonderful news about the halving of the wholesale ivory price in China over the last year, and shares the following important information with readers who may not know much about ivory:

“Ivory comes from the elephant tusk, an incisor tooth that can grow to more than 10 feet. The quickest way to get it is to kill the elephant, hack the tusk from its head and put the ivory into the hands of middlemen who deliver it as a raw material for carvers. Thus, the largest land creatures on earth, which are thought by some to mourn the deaths of other elephants, were being killed by the tens of thousands every year for whatever human vanities could be satisfied by trinkets and baubles. All that remained of a 13,000-pound mammal would be a few delicate ounces of ivory, displayed under glass in the windows of Midtown Manhattan.”

And it ends with this good news:

“For its crimes, Landmark also had to pay $50,000 to Ms. Hapgood’s group, the Wild Tomorrow Fund. The state says it will help pay for gear and training for rangers fighting elephant and rhinoceros poachers in southern Africa.”

You’ll find Thursday’s article on line at http://tinyurl.com/kg6ugk3 and Friday’s at http://tinyurl.com/k7os4n5

They open the door for letters to the editor about ivory, or any aspect of our relationship with other species. The New York Times takes letters at letters@nytimes.com

I send thanks to my new housemate, Clive Whitmore, a New York Times subscriber who made sure I saw the ivory story noted on yesterday’s front page. 

Ask a scientist 

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Why are you marching in the Peoples Climate March?As a scientist, I was tracking climate change impacts when I recognized that I had a duty to provide the communities most vulnerable to those impacts with the scientific understanding they need to remain resilient. After all, I am a member of one of those communities. As in the case of “traditional” toxic pollution, communities of color will bear the brunt of climate change. Both the March for Science and the Peoples Climate March will make a clear statement that scientists—and the informed public—will not stand by while the administration and Congress place the narrow interests of polluters above public health and the environment. And one of the core values of the Peoples Climate March in particular is environmental justice. In fact, members of communities who are on the frontlines of global warming will be leading it, and I will march with my UCS colleagues to show support for them.