Fairphones makes fairer and longer-lasting phones
The supply chain for electronics, including their product life cycles, have a long way to go in terms of fair trade, sustainability, and waste reduction. Dutch company Fairphone is a social enterprise that is building a platform and generating critical mass for fairer electronics, starting with the mobile phone.
Image: Lonneke van der Palen/Fairphone
The company from the Netherlands has developed a modular smartphone, in which each component can be replaced easily. The conflict-free phone can be deconstructed in minutes using a screwdriver. It comes in its own protective case, because even though every part can be replaced, the idea is longevity
Fairphone is making a positive social and environmental impact across the value chain, in mining, design, manufacturing and life cycle, whilst also expanding the market for products that put ethical values first. The Fairphone 2 design is focused on longevity and reparability to extend the phone's usable life and give buyers more control over their products. From conflict-free minerals, to fair factory wages, Fairphone sets the bar for other organisations and aims to inspire the entire industry to work more ethically and responsibly in the name of sustainability.
The Dutch company is a social enterprise which started in 2010. It launched its first smart phone model in 2013 after a crowdfunding campaign. Its mission is to produce mobile phones free of minerals from conflict zones, like coltan and gold, which are often used to fund wars. The phone also avoids waste by making every component replaceable.
The smartphone manufacturer uses commercial strategies to maximize its social impact at every stage of the value chain, from sourcing and production to distribution and recycling.
The ultimate aim of the company is to start a process in which smartphones become longer lasting and use materials from fair sources and in which components are reused and recycled. The company strives for good working conditions, fair wages and worker’s representation throughout the line.
The Fairphone is more than just a smart phone, it is a storytelling device to raise awareness about conflict-minerals, and the shift towards a circular economy. It endeavours to be transparent about where its raw materials come from and how it is made. There will never be a 100% conflict free phone, but you can follow the company’s progress as it endeavours to achieve its goal.
The Dutch government has pledged to achieve a 100% circular economy by 2050. In just over one generation, the world will be inhabited by nine billion people. This will inevitably put huge pressure on resources. The Netherlands itself is densely populated, with a population density of 18% compared to 0.5% globally. Societies across the world have to switch to sustainable sources in order to feed, clothe and shelter their growing populations. Dutch industries, knowledge institutes, and citizens in partnership with government want to lead the way, creating innovative solutions to tackle the challenges. By launching the Holland Circular Hotspot (HCH) it is our intention to become a living lab, developing and sharing solutions to counter the effects of climate change. In doing so, the Netherlands aims to help leave behind a liveable earth for the next generation.