Circular Business Models in the Mobile Phone Industry

image of Circular Business Models in the Mobile Phone Industry

The circular economy offer opportunities to reduce resource use and waste whilst providing business opportunities. This is also true in the mobile phone industry that has been characterised by high rates of product obsolescence. The emergence of the smart phone has changed the landscape, making repair, refurbishment and resell attractive to businesses and consumers. Moreover, emerging modular phone design should allow functional upgrades with low resource wastage. This report investigates the adoption of circular business models within Nordic markets. Producers, retailers, refurbishers, recyclers and resellers tell of their motivation, experiences and the challenges that they face. A special look is taken at consumer and waste law and the challenges and opportunities they represent. The report ends with 17 policy proposals that can accelerate the adoption of circularity in the sector.



Background and Objectives

The purchase, use and discarding of mobile phones has grown rapidly over the past two decades. Mobile phones contain a number of critical metals and hazardous substances. The mining, extraction and refinement of critical metals lead to a range of impacts on human health and the environment (UNEP, 2013). Electronics waste can lead to leaching of hazardous substances unless properly treated (Storm-Mathisen and Slettemeås 2016).


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