Next month, a new video will be released about “Green Infrastructure”, a strategically planned network of high-quality green spaces and environmental features. With around 80% of the EU’s population now living in towns or cities, taking care of the green infrastructure that breathes life into urban and rural habitats has never been more important. Achieving thriving biodiversity is vital to addressing numerous challenges, from climate change adaptation to long-term economic stability.
Searching for a charger that works with your phone will soon be a thing of the past. In 2011 a common charger for data-enabled mobile phones will be launched thanks to the European Union. Close collaboration between the European Commission and the mobile phone industry has led to an agreement on the harmonisation of chargers for all data-enabled phones sold in the EU — a move which is good for consumers, business and for the environment.
“Incompatibility of chargers for mobile phones is a major inconvenience for users and leads to an unnecessary waste of resources” says Antonio Tajani, European Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship.
Indeed, consumers changing their mobile phones usually get a new charger too, leading to an estimated 51,000 tonnes of unnecessary charger waste each year. To help tackle this problem, in June 2009 the 13 leading mobile phone manufacturers signed up to an EU Commission-led initiative to harmonise chargers, on the basis of the Micro-USB connector.
Covering all data-enabled mobile phones sold in the 27 EU Member States, including smartphones, the agreement paved the way for European Standardisation Bodies CEN-CENELEC and ETSI to issue a set of standards on interoperability, safety and electro-magnetic emissions. With these standards in place, the EU Commission now expects the first generation of mobile phones compatible with the new common charger to hit our shelves in early 2011.
The introduction of a universal charger will make life easier for EU consumers, allowing them not only to use a new common charger but also to benefit from a more energy efficient, stand-alone charger, reducing the environmental impact of electronic waste. In addition to the consumer and environmental benefits, the European Commission agreement will usher in more responsible business practice, with any drop in manufacturer charger sales offset by savings through leaner manufacturing and simpler logistics.
It is estimated that approximately half of all mobile phones in use across the EU will benefit immediately, with the EU initiative having huge potential to spread to other electronic devices and world regions.
"Our lives will change for the better thanks to the harmonised charger system, and I think that it will inevitably expand to additional technological devices," asserted Commission Vice President Tajani.