These days, no big industry conference is complete without a good deal of public posturing over global warming, and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week is no exception. Nokia, the world’s largest mobile handset maker, and China Mobile, the world’s largest operator, have both jumped on the eco-bandwagon.

Wang Jianzhou, the chief executive of China Mobile, told delegates that companies had to take responsibility for climate change. China Mobile itself is taking action by collecting old mobile handsets, building mobile base stations that run on solar and wind power, and buying low-energy equipment from suppliers. They clearly want to be seen to be doing their bit ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Meanwhile Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia, displayed a prototype phone made entirely from recycled materials such as tin cans, plastic bottles and old tyres. There is no hint of when, if ever, such a phone might be brought to market. But its an indication of what is possible, Mr Kallasvuo said.

Its very fashionable for companies to talk up the environment at the moment- without necessarily doing much. But these two mobile behemoths are of such a size that even first steps like these will have some impact.

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