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We are all increasingly expecting companies to demonstrate how they can meet consumer interests in a sustainable and ethical way. Honest Mobile is a company aiming to strike a balance between customer-centricity and sustainable business practices.
As a mobile services provider, Honest is building a reputation for being transparent, fair, and socially responsible, whilst enhancing the customer experience through their product. In this article, we will explore how Honest is embedding sustainability within their business model, why it’s important to them, and how it’s creating a unique end product for their consumer.
How is Honest Mobile a “carbon neutral” company?
Honest has been carbon neutral since day one. This means that the carbon emissions from every call, message and megabyte of data used have been removed from the atmosphere.
We’re continually evolving our approach to carbon and since then we’ve removed as much carbon as we can from our own supply chain by moving to renewable energy in our office space, encouraging sustainable ways of commuting to the office, using only recycled furniture in our offices and moving to sustainably powered servers wherever we can.
Since 2021, we’ve tallied up all the left over emissions we haven’t managed to get rid of in the first place and removed them twice over through reforestation, Biochar and Direct Air Capture. We call this carbon negative. As well as the emissions generated by the network use of your phone, this includes the amount of energy needed to charge up your phone every night as well as the original manufacture of your phone.
Why did you choose to embed sustainability within Honest Mobile’s business model?
You might be surprised to hear that building the world’s most sustainable network was never our main focus. But we felt that building the most sustainable business possible should be a prerequisite for all start-ups. When you have a blank piece of paper, there really is no excuse for not considering the planet in every business decision that you make.
That’s why from day one we said we wanted to be a B Corp and got the process started almost as soon as we existed as a company.
How does Honest Mobile’s commitment to sustainability impact the customer experience?
It’s pretty clear that mobile is one of those industries where the customer is often put last. And sadly, sustainability seems to be too far down the priority list in the mobile industry too.
We think providing clear and transparent information about your phone’s carbon footprint, how much carbon you’ve removed and how many trees you’ve planted reassures customers that they’re supporting a responsible company that cares about the planet.
As a B Corp, we’re not just seeking to eke out every ounce of profit possible – we are legally mandated to consider the planet and people in every decision we make. That gives us an incredible compass for making decisions – we just ask ourselves “is this the right thing for the customer?” and it gives a great outcome every time.
Could you share how you measure and monitor your carbon emissions?
When we calculate the carbon footprint of your phone, we calculate the emissions from all your calls, messages and data, as well as the daily charging and manufacture of your phone. We do this for every Honest member and also calculate the carbon footprint of everything we do at Honest HQ. This includes everything in scope 1, 2 and 3 and we even include things outside of our scope 3 emissions such as the manufacture of your phone.
We do this with the help of a fantastic company called Zevero, to make sure we’re using the latest data to give us the most accurate calculations.
We then work with another great company – Klimate.co – to help remove those emissions twice over through a portfolio of high quality carbon removals which are certified and tracked to ensure they are really doing what they say they’re doing.
How does Honest Mobile’s sustainability efforts compare to competitors?
We think the tech and mobile industry needs to be doing more and making sustainability a higher priority.
Honest is the UK’s only carbon negative company, which means we remove double our carbon footprint.
The big players in the UK are generally aiming to reach Net-Zero between 2035 and 2050, and some have even been pushing targets back by as much as fifteen years recently.
We think there are some key areas where the industry could do much better:
- Phones last for a lot longer now than they used to. Networks should be encouraging people to hold onto phones for longer, or opting for a refurbished phone to reduce e-waste which is the UK’s fastest growing waste stream.
- Straightforward and transparent carbon reporting would make it easy for customers to balance a carbon footprint when making buying choices and this is the first step towards reducing carbon emissions in any business as without data we can’t track our progress!
- We’d love the big networks in the UK to reduce emissions by switching how they power their masts and data centres in the UK. We think this is the quickest and easiest way to make an impact for such big businesses.
- There will always be some carbon in a supply chain and investing in high quality carbon removals can mitigate this impact. All businesses need to be doing this, not just our competitors. The price of carbon removals is increasing and as demand increases early investment in carbon removal technologies will help bring the price down and develop more effective methods for carbon removal over time.
How does Honest Mobile involve its customers in its corporate social responsibility efforts?
Whilst it’s cliche, listening to our customers is probably our main superpower. It was a customer that told us they wanted to be able to plant more trees, so we introduced the ability to plant a couple of extra trees a month for £1. We were amazed how many people opted in to this when we launched it!
We’ve always shared our impact report and we are continually setting targets to push what we are doing in the sustainability space. Often it’s our customers who help us to do this by making suggestions or asking challenging questions for us to think about!
How does Honest Mobile balance the needs of its customers with its commitment to sustainability?
We don’t think there’s a tricky balance here – normally what’s right for a customer is also right for the planet. Even if you want an iPhone 14 Pro, there are ways to get a refurbished device to save money and reduce waste. We’ve chosen a range of partners to work with and offer perks for these products in our app to help our customers make sustainable purchases in other area of their life.
How important is it that the platforms and partners you work with are aligned with your values?
No surprise here, but it’s incredibly important. It’s these seemingly small decisions that add up to make such a big difference. In fact, choosing more sustainable and ethical partners is one of the most important things a company can do, in the same way that consumers have huge influence by voting for sustainability with their wallet.
Being a B Corp will always get you a big tick when we’re choosing who to work with, alongside their carbon credentials.
Are there any other future plans to make Honest Mobile a planet-first company?
A key part of being a certified B Corp is the focus on continually looking to improve. Over the next few months we’re looking to remove our plastic SIMs as much as possible by moving to eSIMs (we’re already the first network in the UK to use fully recycled SIMs across the board).
We also want to continue to diversify our carbon removals by looking at new carbon removal technologies that have greater permanence which means that the carbon is safely stored for longer and less likely to be released back into the atmosphere.
Honest Mobile have reached their target of raising over £1.5M. Honest Mobile is a great way to join new wave of sustainability in mobile networks.
Check out the campaign page to learn more.