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Thirteen million tonnes of water to produce a single smartphone

Documenting this is a study carried out by the company Trucost and the organisation, Friends of the Earth

MILAN – Smart but wasteful mobile phones. According to one study entitled Mind Your Step, carried out by the company Trucost and the organisation, Friends of the Earth, the production of a single smartphone involves the use of 13 tonnes of water and 18 square metres of land. The report analyses the water footprint for a series of products, including coffee, fast food, t-shirts and indeed, the smartphone.

Repspecting nature’s boundaries

The organisation comments: “We want to live within the boundaries of what the planet can supply; therefore, first of all, we need to measure what we are using”. What has been requested from experts is the quantification of environmental data linked with certain products, on how much water and land have been used to produce the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the electronic accessories which we have with us every day.

The “burden” of products

After the entire supply chain and all production processes were studied, the smartphone proved to be the object with the biggest impact on nature. Over half the ecological footprint (55%), for example, depends on the need for packaging. However, it is not only smartphones which represent a burden on the environment; a pair of leather boots, for example can require 14 tonnes of water and 50m2 of land, due to the substantial resources used for rearing livestock. For one t-shirt, 4 tonnes is needed, while the land surface used is 4 square metres.

by editorial staff