Contributing to a Circular Economy
In a linear economy, we acquire materials from natural resources and bury or incinerate them when they are no longer needed. Under this model, we are consuming resources that are already very limited, and burdening our environment. Huawei is committed to exploring how to contribute more to the circular economy, reducing our reliance on natural resources, and providing customers with more eco-friendly products. To reduce the pressure on our environment, Huawei continues to improve its product designs, reduce the weight and size of product packaging, and use fiber-based packaging instead of plastic packaging, so that the packaging materials can be more easily disposed of. We have also established a global recycling program to extract residual value from electronic waste, which will help us reduce our consumption of resources, and contribute to the circular economy.
More Eco-friendly Materials
One of the key ways to protect the environment and promote the circular economy is to use renewable and more eco-friendly materials and to take less from nature. At Huawei, we continue to source renewable materials for use in our manufacturing. We are already using a dozen renewables in Huawei products, such as recycled aluminum, tin, gold, cobalt, and paper. We are also exploring the possibility of encouraging our suppliers to use more high-quality renewable materials, to increase our own use of renewables and reduce our reliance on the mining of minerals. We want to leave a more sustainable, better world for future generations.
STORY-Reducing Reliance on Non-renewable Resources with Bioplastics
Plastics are indispensable materials used in electronics products, but recycling traditional plastics is extremely difficult. As part of our commitment to building a better planet with technology, we started using bioplastics in Huawei devices, such as HUAWEI P and Mate series smartphones and watches, starting in 2013. Bioplastics are far more eco-friendly than traditional plastics because they are made from plant extracts, rather than non-renewable petroleum. This means bioplastics greatly reduce environmental pollution and damage. The bioplastics we use contain more than 30% castor oil, reducing CO2 emissions by about 62.6% compared with traditional plastics. By the end of 2020, we had used a total of 1,223 tons of bioplastics, which is equivalent to a reduction of approximately 6,238 tons of CO2 emissions.
More Durable Products
One of the most effective ways to conserve resources is to make high-quality, durable products. Huawei always puts quality first and aims to succeed through quality. We stick to this strategy throughout the entire product lifecycle. In the design stage, we select high-quality raw materials and pay premium prices to high-performing suppliers for better quality. In the manufacturing stage, we conduct strict reliability tests against international standards to ensure our products function normally, even in severe conditions. We also continue to provide users with system updates, as well as convenient and affordable repair services, to extend the service life of our products as much as possible. These practices have helped slash product costs over the lifecycle, and reduce the consumption of natural resources. These are part of our efforts to promote a circular economy.
- Better product quality: Huawei has multiple specialized reliability labs worldwide, where we simulate use scenarios and perform reliability tests on over 700 different products and components. These include drop tests, temperature cycling tests, and abrasion tests. These are some of the measures we take to ensure product quality before shipment.
- More convenient repair services: We have established more than 3,000 service centers in more than 100 countries and regions worldwide. Through these centers, we provide convenient, affordable repair services to consumers and give them a better after-sales experience.
- More efficient repair services: Our professional maintenance engineers can quickly and accurately identify device problems and make appropriate repairs. The time taken to repair a phone was 20% shorter on average than 2011. That means we are saving approximately 140,000 hours for every million repairs.
Huawei service stores
Professional repair services
Huawei adopts a green packaging strategy known as "6R1D": Right Packaging (the core), Reduce, Returnable, Reuse, Recycle, Recovery, and Degradable.
STORY-Lightweight and Less Plastic Packaging for Flagship Phones
The HUAWEI Mate series and P series are Huawei's flagship phones. We improved the packaging for these flagship phones in 2020. As a result, the packaging utilization rate for the HUAWEI Mate 40 Series was 68% higher than the HUAWEI Mate 7 Series. Each phone's packaging used 55 grams less material, meaning 550 tons less paper for every 10 million units. That's equivalent to planting 9,350 trees.
less paper used for the packaging of every 10 million HUAWEI Mate 40 phones
less plastic used for the packaging of every 10 million HUAWEI P40 phones
We also replaced as much plastic packaging as possible with fiber-based packaging for the HUAWEI P40 Series, so that the packaging materials can be more easily disposed of. There was 17% less plastic in the packaging of this phone than there was in its predecessors. That means we used 17,500 kg less plastic per 10 million phones, equivalent to 1.8 million medium-sized supermarket plastic bags.
Eco-friendly packaging for the Huawei P40
STORY-Simplified Packaging Saves Materials and Manpower and Cuts Carbon Emissions
At Huawei, a large number of optical modules are shipped every year. In the past, optical modules were packed separately and shipped in individual packaging. This resulted in the need for more manpower and high logistics costs. When customers received their shipments, they would have to unpack the modules one by one. The whole process was very time- and energy-consuming and not eco-friendly at all, as a lot of packaging waste was generated.
In 2020, Huawei adopted the design for manufacturability (DFM) and matched the packaging of optical modules with what customers actually demanded. We simplified the separate packaging and determined that packaging six optical modules into one was the most optimal approach. Compared with the old individual packaging, the new packs reduced unpacking time by 85% and saved 18 tons of packaging materials for network products used at data centers. That's equivalent to a reduction of about 20 tons in CO2 emissions.
According to the UN's Global E-waste Monitor 2020, e-waste has become the world's fastest-growing domestic waste stream. Huawei is a global provider of ICT infrastructure and smart devices. It's an important part of Huawei's social responsibility to reduce e-waste, recycle as much as possible, and reduce landfill.
In close collaboration with leading recycling service providers, Huawei classifies our waste and disposes of each category separately. Much of our waste is recycled for raw materials or incinerated and used to produce thermal energy. Huawei and our recycling service providers have also identified materials that may be harmful to the environment, and developed targeted disposal plans that minimize our environmental impact. In 2020, we disposed of 13,184 tons of ICT e-waste, only 0.79% of which was landfilled.
Waste sent to landfill1 (2017–2020)
STORY-Smart Device E-waste Recycling
As part of our efforts to recycle as much electronic waste as possible, we have built a global recycling program for device products and scaled up our product trade-in program. Over the course of 2020, Huawei processed more than 4,500 tons of smart device e-waste through our own recycling stations.
of smart device e-waste processed by our own recycling stations
When we receive e-waste, we first categorize the products so that we can most efficiently recycle them and recoup their full value. Electronics that can be refurbished are handed to our partners for resale through official sales channels. Since 2015, we have resold nearly 500,000 devices. Waste that must be scrapped is given to certified third parties who can disassemble and dispose of them in an environmentally friendly manner, to minimize environmental pollution.
Mobile phone PCBs contain metals, including gold and copper, which can be extracted through the chemical processes of deplating, electrolysis, refining, and smelting. From every 10 million mobile phones, more than 120 kg of gold and 87 tons of copper can be recovered through recycling. That's enough to plate 21,000 Olympic gold medals and cast 190,000 bronze medals, which would supply nearly 10 Beijing Olympic Games.
Huawei's four-step trade-in process
STORY-Helping an Upstream Supplier Obtain TÜV Rheinland's First Two-star Zero Waste to Landfill Management System Certification
Huawei actively helps its suppliers establish zero-landfill management systems. We require all of our suppliers take a systematic approach to waste management, proactively improve waste management performance, reduce the pressure of their landfills on the environment, and pursue sustainable development.
In 2020, Huawei worked with TÜV Rheinland to help a supplier's factory establish a zero-landfill management system for solid waste. Within half a year, the supplier has reduced its landfill volume by more than 1,400 tons and obtained TÜV Rheinland's Two-Star Zero Waste to Landfill Management System Certification. This factory is the first in the world to be certified by TÜV Rheinland's Zero Waste to Landfill Management System.
In 2020, many of our environmental protection efforts were recognized by the industry:
ISO 50001 Certified Energy Management Systems
ISO 50001 certified energy management systems focus on improving energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption by standardizing various energy management systems and measures and identifying and utilizing the right energy-saving technologies and methods, as well as best energy management practices. In 2020, Huawei's energy management systems were once again certified as ISO 50001 compliant.
CQC Certification for Energy-efficient Products
The China Quality Certification Center (CQC) assesses energy efficiency in products based on national standards and technical requirements. This is a voluntary certification program designed to encourage more responsible consumption and the use of energy-efficient and eco-friendly products. In 2020, several Huawei products were CQC certified for their high energy efficiency, including our TD-LTE digital mobile phones, 5G digital mobile phones, tablets, and TD-LTE wireless data terminals.
China Environmental Labeling
Products with China Environmental Labeling are of high quality, and more eco-friendly and less resource-intensive than comparable products.
In 2020, 360 of Huawei's products, including rack servers, blade servers, multi-node servers, integrated storage servers, distributed storage servers, micro-computers, and displays were accredited by the China Environmental Labeling program.
Eco-friendly Certification by CEC for Ethernet Switches
In its Eco-friendly Product Certification Program for Ethernet switches, the China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC) has introduced the lifecycle assessment methodology. It now requires higher standards in terms of product energy efficiency, noise, eco-design, and green manufacturing.
In 2020, 66 of Huawei's switches (including CloudEngine switches for data centers and campus networks) received Eco-friendly Product Certification, making them the first Ethernet switches to be given this certification.
Green & Healthy Intelligent Audio Certification
At the Huawei All-Scenario New Product Launch event held on September 10, 2020, Huawei Consumer BG unveiled its latest HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro earphones and officially announced the Huawei-led green & healthy self-certification standards for intelligent audio. SGS, one of the world's leading certification bodies, issued a certificate to Huawei. Huawei was the first manufacturer to receive this new certification.
- Smart device e-waste is not included