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  • Sustainable procurement of mobile

    phone service contract


    WRAP delivered a programme of providing technical procurement

    support to public sector organisations on behalf of Defra during

    2014/15. The programme was designed to assist public sector

    organisations realise cost savings as well as environmental benefits

    through procuring products and services in a more resource efficient

    or sustainable way.

    This case study highlights information developed in collaboration

    with Steve Wallace of Wallace Environmental for use within service

    contracts for mobile phones and focuses on incorporating resource

    efficiency (RE) and circular economy (CE) considerations. Although

    the information was developed for a specific procurement, the

    procurement did not go ahead as planned for unconnected reasons

    and therefore the benefits of this approach can not be quantified.

    The information provided is for use by government departments as

    well as the wider public sector as part of the procurement of a

    mobile phone service contract.

    Key Facts

    Early market analysis

    identified handset Eco-


    Eco-rating scheme enables

    environmental performance

    of handsets to be compared.

  • Aims and objectives

    WRAP provided support to develop

    content to ensure that a service contract

    for mobile phones included best practice

    RE and CE considerations. This would

    ensure that Government would lead by

    example achieving both cost savings and

    environmental benefits.

    The WRAP support involved development

    of appropriate environmental criteria and

    questions for inclusion within tender

    documentation, relating to:

    the environmental policies of the

    manufacturers; and

    data to be reported on handset

    sustainability/RE (e.g. material use,

    components, End of Life

    management, take-back, reuse


    The criteria and questions were based on

    an initial review of environmental data

    reported by mobile phone service

    providers based on an understanding of

    what the market is able to offer in terms of

    product / service sustainability.

    The support also identified that it would be

    feasible for the procuring authority to work

    in collaboration with the appointed

    contractor. Together they can develop

    guidance on potential ways to support and

    restrict call off arrangements to

    environmentally preferred handsets. It

    also proposed a metric for individual

    public sector departments to aid selection

    and procurement.


    Eco-Rating 2.0

    The WRAP support identified that some

    service providers have a form of eco-rating

    for mobile phones. Eco-Rating 2.01 was

    developed by Forum for the Future,


    Vodafone and O2 to help customers

    compare mobile devices based on their

    environmental credentials. The scheme

    will be adopted by other network

    operators around the globe so the

    networks can share a common eco rating

    across all of the devices on offer.

    The Eco-Rating 2.0 is based on a number of

    key principles:








    It was proposed that potential tenderers

    would be asked to include details within

    their bid on the use of Eco-Rating 2.0, or

    equivalent, which rated devices based on

    the above key principles. WRAP proposed

    that once the contract had been awarded,

    the service provider would support each

    procuring department to identify the most

    suitable, yet sustainable device for their


    This approach would allow the procuring

    department to either provide:

    information to individual users so

    that they could make their own

    informed choices, or

    departmental buyers could choice

    restrict for their department if they

    felt that it was appropriate.

  • End of Life Management

    The review also identified that most

    manufacturers only complied with the

    WEEE Directive in terms of the legal

    requirement for recycling devices via the

    producer compliance schemes and that

    whilst only a handful offered direct take

    back of devices, all UK service providers

    offered a take back scheme via a third

    party recycler / reseller. Most

    manufacturers offered a repair service.

    Sustainability criteria and questions

    WRAP recommended a series of questions

    for inclusion within the tender

    documentation based on:

    Use of Eco-Rating 2.0 or equivalent

    Sustainable materials

    Durability and life extension


    End of life management.


    The guidance documents developed by

    WRAP are aimed to assist and inform

    procuring authorities approach to

    including environmental criteria and

    performance within the service contract.


    To estimate the impacts the inclusion of

    environmental criteria could deliver

    through the service contract, it would be

    necessary for either the procuring

    authority or the appointed service provider

    to compare the devices they would have

    purchased, versus the devices they were

    opting to purchase. Information such as

    the environmental impacts and lifetime of

    the devices can then be analysed using the

    Eco-Rating 2.0 scheme to estimate the


    This could be used as a typical example

    and extrapolated by the anticipated

    number of devices procured annually

    through the service contract across the

    procuring authority.

    Supporting information

    The proposed questions are provided in

    Appendix 1. However, the wording is

    provided for guidance only and legal

    advice should be taken before proceeding

    with specific actions.

    It is also recognised that procuring

    authorities will already have existing

    environmental based questions for

    inclusion within Invitation to Tenders. The

    contents of Appendix 1 are therefore

    provided to be additional questions and

    should be reviewed to ensure they are

    relevant and proportionate to the

    procurement before being included.

  • Appendix 1 sample

    procurement wording

    The information and sample procurement

    wording are provided in good faith and we

    believe at the time of issue to be legally

    and commercially accurate. However, the

    wording is provided for guidance only and

    legal advice should be taken before

    proceeding with specific actions.

    The contractor shall issue, on a monthly

    basis the current device catalogue. Our

    preferred measure of sustainability for

    handsets is the Eco-Rating 2.0 scheme

    (administered by Vodafone/Telefonica but

    accessible on a free licence basis for all

    service providers). The contractor will

    provide a rating for each of the mobile

    devices that they supply in accordance

    with this scheme or some equivalent

    scheme which provides an aggregate score

    across the following main topic areas:

    Overall corporate sustainability

    commitment of the handset


    Product durability and life


    Energy use and global warming


    Raw material depletion/sustainable

    materials (e.g. recycled content)

    Restriction of hazardous

    substances (beyond compliance

    with RoHS and REACH)

    Water depletion (embodied water)

    Packaging and logistics efficiency

    End of life impacts (reuse, recycling


    Functionality (e.g. where displacing

    another device such as a camera or

    sat nav)

    Note: where data is not available from

    a handset manufacturer, a zero score

    should be applied.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The contractor will take steps to review the

    Eco-Rating 2.0 (or equivalent) score as

    provided by the manufacturer to check its

    validity where possible and provide

    evidence of the process.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The contractor will require the

    manufacturer to take reasonable steps (for

    example using the EICC conflict minerals

    reporting template2 (CMRT) and related

    procedures) to ensure that its supply chain

    only uses tin, tungsten, gold and tantalum

    from compliant smelters and refiners

    authorised by the GeSI/EICC Conflict-Free

    Smelter Program and within the valid

    period for that smelter/refiner. Evidence of

    the process used is required.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The contractor shall offer a repair service

    for the handset, both within warranty and

    beyond the warranty period for at least 4

    years after the handset model has ceased

    being supplied under this contract. The

    price for such a service must be specified

    separately within the tender document.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The contractor will support the Customers

    in the disposal and recycling of devices;

    including security aspects regarding

    deletion of data contained on devices prior

    to collection or as a part of the disposal


    Response (state Compliant OR Not




  • Sustainable procurement of mobile phone service contract 5

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    The Contractor will offer Customers a

    financial or other suitable incentive to

    encourage the return of used handsets.

    This will be facilitated by a free-post return

    envelope or on site collection service.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The Contractor will provide a facility for

    Customers to dispose of their old working

    devices in a way that the device can be

    wiped clean of all data so that it can be

    fully reused as a working mobile phone in

    its existing or refurbished state. The

    Contractor shall include an option for such

    devices to be used for charitable purposes

    as well as for commercial resale.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The Contractor will provide information, at

    a minimum of every 6 months, on handset

    recycling, including but not necessarily

    limited to:

    An overview of the recycling/material

    reprocessing of devices that are

    returned by customers, including;

    o % of handsets reused whole for

    their original;

    o Number of and type of each key

    component recovered (e.g. PCBs,

    chips, screen) for reuse as a % of

    handsets [or some other

    measurement to allow


    o % of main materials recovered by

    reprocessing (plastic, steel,


    o % of precious metals recovered by

    reprocessing (e.g. from PCBs and


    o % of other rare minerals recovered

    through reprocessing (e.g. from

    PCBs and chips)

    Strategy implemented to maximise

    recovery of materials, including rare

    and precious minerals.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The Contractor will maintain and provide

    to customers upon request and at a

    minimum every 6 months, up-to-date

    environmental and sustainability

    information (openly available from the

    manufacturer) on all devices available.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The Contractor will provide support to

    Customers to assist the Customer and

    users make more sustainable /

    environmental choices with regards to

    their mobile service. This will include as a

    minimum a standing Sustainability /

    Environmental Agenda item for the regular

    Service Review Meeting to review the

    performance of the eco-rating, device

    disposal and recycling requirements.

    Response (state Compliant OR Not


    The Contractor will provide a service which

    will allow Customers to have their devices

    repaired outside the manufacturers

    warranty period.

    The price for such a service must be

    specified separately within the tender


    Response (state Compliant OR Not