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March 11, 2010

Ask the Nokia Environmental team your questions today!

eco4GLOBAL – This week the Guardian has been host to an online Q&A session between the Nokia Environmental team and readers. They’ll be fielding and responding to questions until tomorrow, so there’s still time to pose your questions to Nokia’s eco folk today. Read on to find out more, and join us after the jump for highlights of what’s been asked so far.

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Here are our top three picks of questions that have been asked and answered over the past few days.


Q. swizzlesticks: “We’re always being told to switch off appliances at the wall (yawn). Do Nokia chargers carry on using an electric charge when they’re unplugged from the phone but still plugged into the mains? If so, why?”

A. Nokia Environmental team: “Hi swizzlesticks and thanks for your question! All chargers use electricity when they are plugged into mains, with or without the phone. The reason for this is that the electrical circuitry inside the charger must be operational always when the charger is plugged to the mains voltage socket. The circuitry supplies charging voltage so that phone can start charging the battery when connected to the charger. We are constantly improving the charger power efficiency so that the power consumption is minimized when phone is not connected to the charger. Over the last decade, we have reduced the average no-load power consumption of our chargers by over 80%, and our best-in-class chargers by over 95%. Also, to make it easier to Nokia users, many Nokia phones have a feature that reminds the user to unplug the charger in order save power when battery charging is finished. So yes, you still should switch off/unplug your charger (I agree, yawn! 🙂 But if you forget, the good thing is that our High Efficiency Chargers only use 0.03W in no-load mode, which is very little… Saara with a lot of help from the engineers! :-)”


Q. Iamtheurbanspaceman: “Does any of the metal in your phones come from Congo or Rwanda? How do you plan on ensuring that your phones are not financing conflict or propping up illegal child labour in Africa in the future?”

A. Nokia Environmental team: “Hi lamtheurbanspaceman, thanks for the first question! Nokia does not buy or even source any metals directly, but we are very concerned about the poor practices at some mine operations – for us, any activity that fuels or finances conflict is totally unacceptable. Thus, for years we have banned metals from conflict areas e.g. in Congo. We require written statement from our suppliers to ensure that metals down the supply chain are legally and ethically sourced. If you are interested in finding out more about how we do this, please see

Tougher phones with marathon batteries

Q. Dakard: “Just wanted to say, every Nokia I have ever owned (except one that was run over) is still working in a village in Senegal, West Africa. The older ones were like bricks. The newer ones have more to go wrong and are more fragile. Any chance of a more rugged one with a longer lasting battery for villages with no electricity? Doesn’t need colour or camera, just talk and text like many people have asked for.”

A. Nokia Environmental team: “Hi Dakard, Good to hear you’ve been happy with the Nokia products, sorry one of them got run over? Our product portfolio includes range devices suitable for different needs and environments. One that might be just the rugged mobile you are looking for is Nokia 3720 classic. It is designed to resist water, dust and shock and has good battery performance. Something that came to my mind when reading your post about villages with no electricity: an interesting concept we are looking into in our research field is something called a mobile solar charging and micro retail unit, a concept that we are currently piloting. A large share of mobile phones e.g. in Africa are currently charged from small petrol generators and car batteries. The Nokia solar charging unit concept aims at providing clean energy to charge those mobile phones and other battery operated devices. This concept is also a micro retail solution ? an entrepreneur can use the unit to earn a living by charging mobile phones and LED laps, etc. As said, this concept is still to be piloted, but is an interesting example how energy challenges, sustainability and improving livelihood in developing countries can go hand in hand.”