Sprint has carried out more green initiatives than any competing mobile operator in the United States, according to Frost & Sullivan, which awarded the company its 2012 North American Award for Green Excellence.
The analysis and consulting firm presents the award each year to the company that, compared to its industry sector, has best demonstrated technological advancements aligned with sustainable objectives.
Frost & Sullivan chose Sprint for its ambitious 10-year environmental goals, which include reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by an absolute 20 percent, lowering power consumption 15 percent and cutting paper use 40 percent by 2017.
The firm also credited Sprint for its partnership with UL Environment to produce the ULE 10, the first environmental standard for mobile devices across the entire wireless industry. The standard provides guidelines for sensitive materials use, energy management, manufacturing and operations, product performance, packaging, product stewardship and sustainable innovation.
The mobile operator also has created a recycling buyback program to lower the number of feature phones and smartphones discarded every year. Sprint plans to collect nine out of every 10 devices it sells for reuse and recycling by 2017. Today, the company collects four of every 10 devices it sells and reuses about 90 percent of those collected.
The mobile provider’s Bring Your Own Sprint Device program, which launched this week, will help the company reach its 2017 reuse and recycling goals, said Brent Iadarola, global research director for Frost & Sullivan’s mobile and wireless group.
The BYOSD program allows individuals to reactive used and inactive Sprint-branded devices on qualified Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), the smaller wireless communication retailers who lease spectrum from major wireless carriers like Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. As long as the contract with Sprint has ended, an individual can reactive the phone and use it under certain MVNOs.
The program is unique and could keep people from discarding phones, said Iadarola. However, it also has its limitations because the two largest MVNOs, Boost and Virgin Mobile, are not included, he added.
Last year, wireless communications industry group CTIA, which includes Sprint, AT&T, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, T-Mobile and Verizon, committed to a series of package sustainability goals, including the elimination of plastic inserts and trays from postpaid wireless device packaging by the end of 2013. Other goals set out by CTIA’s Green Working Group include labeling all US postpaid wireless packaging with internationally recognized symbols to facilitate the recycling of products, and using less than 10 percent volatile organic compounds.