The Light Phone II
The Light Phone II

Case Study

The Light Phone II

  • Lightweight LCA
  • Consumer Education
  • Meaningful Offsets

Investigating the climate impacts of a mobile phone. Building a novel checkout feature to invite customers into the sustainability conversation.

We worked with a mobile telecom company called Light Phone to dive head first into the environmental footprint of their flagship product, the Light Phone II.

Light Phone II's Lifecycle A cradle to grave product lifecycle

Our analysis was conducted as cradle to grave. That means — additional to the emissions associated with raw materials and manufacturing, we additionally took into account all of the emissions incurred during day to day operations over the life of phone, including the environmental cost of recycling it at end of life.

Building the Light Phone II
Building the Light Phone II

Climate impact was our primary focus — so we started by researching and understanding each “phase of life” the product goes through; and next, worked to translate each sub-component on the circuit board into broad impact categories, allowing us to measure each component and develop a sense of the overall impact for the device.

Embedded circuitry is notoriously hard to measure from a carbon emissions point of view, so (and in order to keep our time constrained), took a “Lightweight LCA” approach to understanding the device’s overall impact.

Our Lightweight LCA Approach

In order to keep our process light and simple, we developed a light-weight approach to taking inventory of all of the processes and parts that make up the device. We worked through each of these emission events to develop an inventory on a per unit basis, and carefully documented every decision process in a detailed report that the Light Phone team published on medium.

Assessing and Offsetting the Light Phone II’s Carbon Emissions. Click here to find out more.
Right Arrow Icon Read the Full Report on Medium

The outcome: our (conservative) estimate for the embodied carbon in each Light Phone device was found to be 60.6 kg CO2e, from manufacturing, fulfillment and electricity usage, all the way through to end of life.

Consumer Education and Storytelling

Part of any successful environmental strategy is a resonant and legible approach to talking about the work. So, we set out to tell that story; so that the Light Phone’s customers could quickly understand how the device compares to it’s competitors, and other lifestyle choices.

We added a sustainability page to the Light II's website, to help consumers learn about their efforts. Click here to find out more.
Right Arrow Icon Read the Full Report on Medium
Relative emissions
Relative emissions
Footprint breakdown
Footprint breakdown

We worked with Joe from the Light Phone team, who’s signature illustration style we incorporated into some key graphics that broke down the carbon footprint and made our work easy to digest for a casual consumer.

A Carbon Offsetting Checkout Flow

In order to mitigate the device’s impact, the Light Phone group chose to split a carbon offset 50/50 with their consumer, as an add-on during the checkout process. Carbon offsets are woefully underpriced in today’s carbon market, so we chose to price our offsets at $100 per ton (6 - 10x the going rate), which resulted in an additional $3.15 cost to the consumer.

We’ve sold over 6000+ offsets at an opt-in rate of roughly ~40% per order.

In order to mitigate the device’s impact, the Light Phone group chose to split a carbon offset 50/50 with their consumer, as an add-on during the checkout process. Carbon offsets are woefully underpriced in today’s carbon market, so we chose to price our offsets at $100 per ton (6 - 10x the going rate), which resulted in an additional $3.15 cost to the consumer.

Carbon Offsetting Checkout Flow

Using our consumer education piece, we are able to legitimize our research, and help the consumer understand the integrity of our offsetting program.

On the day we launched this initiative, the team had their best sales day on record.