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Underwriters Laboratory Environment (ULE)


Sprint first met with Underwriters Laboratory Environment (ULE) in the summer of 2010 as it began exploring possible partners to provide third-party certification of the Sprint Eco-Logo. The relationship quickly evolved based on both organizations' desire to see a new global sustainability standard following the ULE standards-development process. ULE contacted wireless carriers and mobile-device manufacturers to determine their interest in a sustainability standard for mobile phones and willingness to join the initial development team. Sprint invited several of its key manufacturers to participate, and by the end of the summer, ULE had agreements to move forward with the initial development including Sprint as the only carrier and five manufacturers, three of whom were current manufacturers for Sprint. That fall ULE hosted and led a series of meetings between the participants to develop the interim draft of the Standard Requirement for Mobile Phones, ULE 110, which was released in June 2011.

ULE established a Standards Technical Panel (STP) as part of the development process. An STP is a group of individuals, representing a variety of interests, formed to review proposals related to new UL Standards, such as ULE 110. The STP serves as the consensus body to review and vote on proposals prior to formal publication by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The ULE 110 STP includes additional device manufacturers, wireless carriers, and other experienced stakeholders.

Sprint is actively participating in the Standards Technical Panel as both a member and Task Group Leader as requirements and point allocations are reviewed. ULE expects an official ANSI standard to be released at the end of the process. Sprint is proud of the role it is playing to establish the sustainability standard for mobile devices.

ULE 110 – the standard for more sustainable mobile phones

In June 2011, ULE 110 was released, making it available for device certification. As the standard was being finalized, Sprint worked with Samsung Mobile to take a new device, Samsung Replenish, through the assessment process and in June 2011, Sprint announced that Samsung Replenish had earned a Platinum certification on ULE 110 – the first device to be certified using the new standard, and the first to achieve a Platinum rating - the highest level.

Through the standard development process, Sprint realized it could play a significant role in encouraging wide-spread adoption of the new standard which would in turn accelerate the incorporation of more sustainable manufacturing and development processes for the mobile phone industry as whole. Sprint had seen success with the environmental section of its device scorecard which provides the minimum sustainability requirements for all Sprint mobile phones, and decided to add the ULE 110 assessment process as a requirement for its 2012 device scorecard.

In January 2012, Sprint announced the requirements for the environmental aspects of the device scorecard, including the requirement that all phones go through the ULE certification process – an industry first. Sprint could not have made a stronger statement of support for the new standard and met with each of its manufacturers to take them through its expanded expectations. As of the end of the fourth quarter in 2012, Sprint and its prepaid brands – Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and payLo – had 14 ULE 110 Platinum devices and 23 ULE 110 Certified devices. The ability for such a large percentage of our phones to meet the ULE 110 certification requirements is a testament to the strength of Sprint's Environmental Requirements and Environmental Scorecard.

The standard is publicly available, and awards up to 109 points to devices as follows:

A copy of the standard can be ordered and downloaded at http://www.comm-2000.com/.