The Environment & the Company Mobile

Sustainability is rising up the agenda as public and private sector organisations recognise the need for a clean environmental record as part of wider moves to improve brand perception.

As the trend towards more sustainable work-practices increases, so does the need to look beyond obvious ‘green’ policies such as recycling paper, managing emissions or putting out an annual environmental impact report.

One area that has thus far received little attention is mobile telecommunications, and in particular the environmental impact of having a separate mobile phone for work and private use.

With an estimated 14m people in the UK alone carrying more than one phone, and the environmental impact of the manufacture, use and disposal of these, organisations should look seriously at their current mobile policy.

Until now, organisations have had little choice other than giving out a second phone for staff to use for work.

However, ConXhub enables, for the first time, a true multi-persona capability for any smartphone, giving organisations the ability to provide staff with a second mobile number and not a second mobile handset. With ConXhub, all of the benefits of having two separate handsets are retained – but at much lower cost to the organisation and to the environment.

The environmental impact of a single smartphone is more significant than most people realise. Friends of the Earth research has found that 13 tons of water and 18 square metres of land are required to make a single smartphone. If you multiply this by the 88 million mobile phone subscriptions in the UK, then it’s clear that the manufacture of these phones will have had a significant environmental impact.

Today around 30% of the adult population, an estimated 14.2m people, carry separate personal and work phones. Not only is this expensive for the organisation, it’s inconvenient for the staff who have to carry, manage and charge two devices, and it’s irresponsible with regards to the environment.

Almost all electronic devices rely to a greater or lesser extent on materials that are toxic to the environment.

These materials do not represent much of a hazard while the phones are in use. However, the way they are extracted from nature, and what happens to them when phones are thrown away, is a cause for significant concern.

The environmental impact of smartphones increases greatly when you consider the lifetime costs of the device.

To source just the tiny amount of gold needed for a smartphone circuit board, for example, around 220 pounds of mining waste are produced. The production of a single kilo of gold requires 380,000 mega-joules of energy, compared to 100 megajoules for a kilo of plastic.

Rare earth metals, meanwhile, have to be separated from radioactive thorium and uranium using sulphuric acid in an energy and water intensive extraction process.

The radioactive waste produced during extraction has to be stored safely, which is not always the case in the countries where mining takes place.

Once the raw materials have been obtained, mobile phones go through a manufacturing process that creates around 16 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions per device.

More carbon is used in the manufacture of smartphones than consumers ever use after buying them.’ According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the energy consumption of the 14.2m ‘second phones’ in the UK would power nearly 30,000 homes for a year.

All in all, the average smartphone is estimated to create around 94 kilos of carbon dioxide equivalent over its lifetime.

Finally, there is the issue of disposal. According to Greenpeace, ‘every year, hundreds of thousands of old computers and mobile phones are dumped in landfills or burned in smelters.

Given the environmental impacts outlined above, it clearly does not make economic or environmental sense for organisations to provide staff with a second mobile phone. Indeed, many organisations are already arriving at this conclusion because of costs, security and the fact that staff do not want to carry two phones.

The usual answer is to introduce a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy or a ‘corporate owned, personally enabled’ (COPE) policy. With these policies, the goal is to enable staff to use a single device for both work and personal use and thereby avoid the need to carry two phones. However, while this goal has merit, the challenge becomes how to then manage separate and distinct work and personal identities on the same device.

The management of two separate identities on one device is relatively easy to achieve with respect to data and applications. For example, both work and personal email accounts can be easily managed on the same device. But until now the only way to have separate mobile numbers for personal and work calls on one phone was by using Voice over IP (VoIP) – a technology which, due to its requirement for constant, high-quality internet coverage renders it not fit for purpose for the mobile professional. For that reason, organisations have, until now, reluctantly provided staff with a dedicated second mobile phone.

There is now, however, a way to have multiple numbers on one mobile phone, which works across all UK networks, and on iOS and Android smartphones. ConXhub is the first solution of its kind in the UK that provides ‘virtual numbering’ – enabling organisations to provide staff with a company phone numbers that work on their device of choice. In this way, staff can maintain distinct personal and work communications on one phone – with full separation of calls, SMS and voicemail between personal and work mobile numbers.

Not only does ConXhub eliminate the need to provide a second, dedicated mobile phone for work, but it also provides a suite of professional features normally only found on fixed line numbers, such as delegation, call redirection and call recording.

ConXhub is an evolution in communications technology allowing YOU to make and receive calls from any phone numbers on your personal mobile phone, keeping personal and work calls completely separate.

Communicate from anywhere, even on the go.

ConXhub offers a 7 day, risk free, no obligation trial – take yours today!

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