From the popularity of Robert Parker's wine scoring system to Consumer Reports’ products rankings, consumers love numerical scores. The reason is simple: They help buyers make informed decisions.

Today, AT&T introduced an eco-rating system—developed in consultation with BSR—that will allow their consumers to understand the environmental impacts of mobile devices like cell phones. 

Given the ubiquity of cell phones—there are approximately 5 billion in use worldwide—providing consumers with easy-to understand environmental impact information should help the industry make significant progress in sustainable consumption.

This eco-rating system assigns each product a simple score based on five key environmental attributes:

  • Hazardous substances
  • Environmentally preferable materials
  • Energy efficiency
  • Responsible end-of-life treatment
  • Environmentally responsible manufacturing

With this system, we believe it’s possible that environmental ratings will eventually rank as high on the consumer agenda as quality, safety, and cost. And we’re hopeful this development will have a ripple effect on other products and industries.