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Advancement of Sustainability Standards Needed for Mobile Devices

With the rapid convergence of technology in mobile devices, new industry challenges have evolved, including inter-operability, interference, data and payment security, sustainability, and environmental safety. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) President and CEO Keith Williams discussed these critical topics in a keynote speech to industry stakeholders at the 16th annual Verizon Network Equipment-Building System (NEBS) Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. earlier this month.

Williams shared the ways that UL and its partners are addressing these modern challenges through the development of Standards and Testing. Williams said that UL is "thinking in a more ‘big picture,' holistic way about mobile devices - beginning with the question, ‘is the product itself sustainable?'" According to Williams, today's criteria for a sustainable product means that manufacturers "need to make it work, make it last and, when the time comes, make it go away cleanly and ‘greenly.'" To support this mission, Williams shared two new standards that will soon be released by UL.

First, Williams talked about a new mobile device sustainability standard that is expected be released at the end of this year. The standard will be applicable to mobile devices and will help to mitigate many of the digital world's impending challenges, such as environmental sensitivity, energy  management, manufacturing and operations, health and environment, product performance, packaging and product stewardship. Williams said that UL is also creating a Standards Technical Panel (STP) to collect input on the standard and find a consensus from industry professionals.

Second, according to Williams, companies - not just their projects - must focus on their sustainability practices. Williams said that UL's development of ULE880 through UL Environment will help to examine sustainability for manufacturing organizations. The vision of the standard is that it will be recognized as "a uniform, globally applicable system for rating and certifying manufacturing companies of all sizes and sectors, on the spectrum of environmental and social performance characteristics." ULE880 will address five domains of sustainability, including sustainability governance, environment, workplace, customers and suppliers, and social and community engagement, encouraging manufacturers to see the ‘big picture' along with UL.

Williams said that this program, along with other conformity assessments will "inject trust and therefore confidence and coherence into commerce."   

To learn more about UL's NEBS testing services click here or contact Bryan Weber.