Reduce impact abroad? Start with your mobile phone

17 May 2019

Two days ago, the Dutch Center for Big Data Statistics released its second ‘Monitor for Broad Prosperity’ (Monitor Brede Welvaart). The monitor shows people in the Netherlands are relatively wealthy and well educated. This prosperity, unfortunately, comes at a cost: unsustainable consumption and the impact thereof on developing countries. Closing the Loop invites Dutch companies to start making a difference with the device we use every day, our mobile phone.

Dutch consumption styles and the economy heavily rely on import of metals and other materials from developing countries, pressuring ecosystems and increasing carbon emissions. “The Monitor challenges us to think about how our everyday products, like mobile phones, have an impact abroad and in the future. Every time we buy a new mobile phone, metals are needed for production. We also know that the majority of reused Dutch phones ends up at waste dumps in Africa. By making phones waste-free and material-neutral we can easily make a difference today”, says Joost de Kluijver, Founder of Closing the Loop.

One for One phone offsetting

Closing the Loop aims to make the entire lifecycle of mobile phones more sustainable. Together with local partners in Africa and Asia, it ensures that the metals that are extracted for the production of a new mobile phone are compensated by collecting and recycling a ‘waste phone’. For every new device a company buys, it collects and responsibly recycles a scrap phone that would otherwise end up at the dump. This is how the phones ultimately become waste-free. 

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs, are central in the Monitor’s assessment. The SDGs cover both economic, social and environmental welfare and show their interlinkages. For example the Monitor shows that the Dutch raw materials footprint increased in 2017. “Our way of consumption (SDG 12) is having a negative impact on the broader sustainable development abroad, mainly in developing countries. Closing the Loop shows that sustainable consumption for mobile phones is possible today”, says De Kluijver. “We invite organisations with many company phones and the telecom sector to work with us to contribute to SDG 12 for next year’s monitor.”

Let’s drive sustainable development together

Learn more about how you can contribute to multiple SDGs at once by working together with Closing the Loop.