In December 2005, Nokia launched a unique take-back program for consumers in China – unique in that it was an industry partnership with China Mobile and Motorola. Called the ‘Green Box’ program, this was the very first time anything like this had been done in China. And with over 30, 000 mobile phones and accessories collected during the first two months, the figures alone proved that the program was a success.
The program was extended in April 2006 to include six more mobile phone manufacturers: Panasonic, NEC, and several Chinese domestic manufacturers. Although led by Nokia, the program is firmly based upon the principle of collaboration, with all partners working closely together. This has been instrumental in helping us set our own environmental targets by providing an excellent model of effective and successful take-back and recycling.
With 1500 take-back boxes in 40 major cities and at Nokia Care Points in retail outlets during its initial phase, this number has continued to increase steadily and today it is a true nationwide program where any type or make of phone can go in the recycling bins,’’ explains Cai Yun, Head of Communications for Nokia's Customer and Market Operations in China.
Crucial to the program’s success has been the involvement of Nokia employee volunteers. Not only do members of our 470 strong ‘Ambassador Club’ go on site and visit Nokia Care Points to distribute promotional materials to employees and consumers, they also form groups to help educate the community at large about the importance of protecting the environment. All this has helped improve public awareness of environmental issues in China, and generate a great deal of media interest along the way.
Our ambassadors are now using the power of persuasion to push recycling in general up the political and domestic agenda, becoming part of the intense lobbying to other industries, such as white goods manufacturers producing items like refrigerators, TVs and microwave ovens. These products, like mobile phones, contain metals and plastics that can be re-used or burned to produce energy rather than dumping them in landfill sites to the detriment of the environment, says Cai Yun.