TCO Certified Smartphones

TCO Certified Smartphones

A TCO Certified smartphone meets life cycle sustainability criteria such as socially responsible manufacturing, environment and ergonomics / health and safety. The life cycle approach in TCO Certified Smartphones means that each certified model meets criteria in the manufacturing, use and end of life phases. Product compliance is verified by an independent third party.

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How to choose TCO Certified smartphones and include TCO Certified in your purchasing contracts

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How to certify your smartphone products and promote your TCO Certified smartphones.

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TCO Certified Smartphones- Criteria Overview

Criteria in TCO Certified focus on the product life cycle, including sustainability requirements in the manufacturing, use and end of life product phases. Specific criteria address environment, socially responsible manufacturing and ergonomics / health and safety.

TCO Certified Criteria- Manufacturing phase

Criteria – Manufacturing phase

Why is this important?

Having an environmental management system (EMS) in place shows that the company works in a systematic way to continuously improve the environmental performance of the company and its products. A third party certified EMS includes independent reviews to ensure continuous improvement.

Manufacturing of the product must follow:

Why is this important?

Shorter product life cycles and the constant push for new technologies has led to growing pressure on the IT industry and its complex supply chain to deliver new product models faster and at a lower cost. The result is often sub-standard working conditions in the manufacturing phase, including long working hours, low wages and unsafe work environments.

TCO Certified Criteria- Use phase

Criteria – Use phase

  • Energy efficient external power supply

Why is this important?

Energy production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2. With an ever-increasing volume of IT equipment in use, a product’s energy efficiency is vital for reducing the climate impact of our IT use.

  • Visual ergonomics – resolution, luminance, contrast, color performance
  • Product supplied with a headset

Why is this important?

An ergonomic product is designed for user comfort. With IT products this means reducing the risk for repeitive strain problems of the eyes, neck, back which can be caused by frequent use. Good ergonomics, such as a high quality display image, can also influence our productivity and extend the usable life of a product. So ergonomic design can also offer sustainability benefits!

  • Electrical safety
  • Minimal electromagnetic emissions
  • Limits on halogenated substances
  • Surfaces do not release nickel – a common contact allergen

Why is this important?

An IT product should not be a source of health risks. That’s why TCO Certified includes requirements for electrical safety,  low electromagnetic and chemical emissions, acoustic protection and the reduction of common allergens used in certified products. We also limit the use of hazardous chemicals that can potentially leak from the product during use, collect in dust and post health risks to the user.

  • Minimum one-year product warranty
  • Availability of spare parts for a minimum of three years after model’s final production
  • Battery – must be replaceable and free from hazardous substances

Why is this important?

E-waste is currently the world’s fastest growing waste stream. It is hazardous, complex and expensive to treat in an environmentally sound manner. It is also largely unregulated. Today, most e-waste is being discarded in the general waste stream leading both to pollution and to loss of valuable resources such as precious metals. Extending the usable life of electronic products can therefore bring about environmental benefits.

TCO Certified Criteria- End of life phase

Criteria – End of Life phase

Elimination or reduction of:

  • Heavy metals: cadmium, mercury, lead and hexavalent chromium
  • Halogenated flame retardants (stricter than RoHS requirement)
  • Bromine and chlorine included in plastics
  • Non-halogenated substances
  • Phthalates

Why is this important?

Electronic devices contain hazardous substances like heavy metals and brominated flame retardants. This causes problems both in the use phase (additives can leak from the plastic and accumulate in eg dust and harm both our health and the environment) and at end-of-life where uncontrolled recycling can cause the release of toxins such as dioxins and furans.

  • Brand is responsible for taking back products for recycling at end of life

Why is this important?

Every year, around 50 million tons of toxic E-waste is generated worldwide. Only about 13 percent of these discarded electronics are recycled in a responsible way*, and the export of e-waste to developing countries, where recycling is often uncontrolled and hazardous, is still too high. Increasing recycling rates is vital in lowering the environmental and health risks of IT-products at their end of life.


  • Plastics coded for easier recycling
  • Limitations of different plastic types
  • All packaging is recyclable

Why is this important?

Recycling old electronics in an environmentally sound way ensures not only that the hazardous content of the products is properly handled and not dispersed into the environment but also increases the availability of recycled material to replace virgin materials for new products. This saves large amounts of natural resources.

Full Criteria Document – TCO Certified Smartphones

For Manufacturers – Certify your smartphone products

Products eligible for TCO Certified Smartphones meet the following definition:

  • Smartphones with a display size of ≥ 3” to ≤ 6”.
  • Smartphones communicating over a cellular network. It must also have functionality similar to a wireless, portable computer that is primarily for battery mode usage and has a touch screen interface.
  • Connection to mains via an external power supply is mainly for battery charging purposes and an onscreen virtual keyboard or a digital pen is in place of a physical keyboard.

Certification documents and guidance

  • Criteria document -TCO Certified Smartphones 1
  • CSR Questionnaire – TCO Certified
  • Assessment Guidelines, CSR Questionnaire
  • Price list – TCO Certified
  • Application form – TCO Certified
  • Application Process – TCO Certified
  • Package document – TCO Certified
Download certification documents
More information on certifying your products