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As Sprint worked with Samsung to develop the Samsung Reclaim, it developed an understanding of the set of attributes that made a device more environmentally responsible. It compiled these attributes into a draft Environmental Specifications document that could be used to provide environmental guidance and education to device suppliers. Sprint discussed the concept with each of its key device manufacturers, shared what it was planning to include, and then, incorporating their feedback and its own findings, Sprint finalized its first Environmental Requirements document. Sprint updates this document periodically to incorporate new guidance for its suppliers or to reflect changes in prioritization.
In addition, Sprint modified its quarterly supplier-assessment process to incorporate a short list of environmental requirements. The requirements are a subset of the Environmental Specifications document. Sprint evaluates its device suppliers on a quarterly basis through a scorecard covering key performance expectations. Sprint executives and the supplier's management meet quarterly to review performance against expectations and discuss strengths and improvement needs. Sprint added the environmental requirements to the vendor scorecard at the end of 2010 and set the expectation that the scorecard criteria would be modified each year to ensure continuous improvement in supplier performance. Initially the environmental component of the scorecard counted for five percent of their total performance, but that was increased to six percent at the beginning of 2012.
Sprint notifies suppliers up to six months in advance of scorecard changes so they have adequate time to modify their processes before the scoring officially "counts" toward their quarterly evaluation. The scorecard provides the minimum requirements to launch all postpaid or prepaid handsets. Handsets must comply with all requirements to be considered "compliant" for Sprint's Electronic Stewardship Policy.
For 2012, Sprint is using the following criteria to score each device:
With the criteria now in place, we established an initial compliance baseline using phones launched in 2009. Then, we established a performance target to have 70 percent of all devices launched annually fully comply with our environmental scorecard for device suppliers. We do not expect to achieve 100 percent compliance; the criteria need to be challenging enough to drive meaningful advances. Suppliers have responded favorably to the criteria and have impressed us with their speed in meeting the environmental criteria. This is a testament to the effectiveness of the process and the interest of the wireless industry as a whole to improve its environmental performance.