A Fair Smartphone, Finally

Can you imagine?

This pile of phones is what we found in our Jr. IT guy’s drawer. Maybe we’re paying him too much.

Joking. We don’t pay him at all. (Only in hugs.)

Without exaggerating too much though, over the course of the last ten years or so, this pile may possibly be representative of how many mobile phones some people may have used.

While changing smartphone ever year or two may be the cool, fashionable thing to do — it really isn’t. Not only does it cost you more money, it also has a big, wasteful impact on our world.

10 Years — 7 Billion Phones = Crazy

It’s estimated that over 7 billion smartphones have been produced in the last 10 years. Today, there are roughly 2 billion smart devices actively used.

Sooooo, simple math tells us there are about 5 billion old, unused devices lying around. That’s a lot of unnecessary “waste.”

Thankfully, this Dutchman and his team are doing something about it.

Located in Amsterdam, Bas Van Abel’s startup, Fairphone is getting ready to launch their newest model, the Fairphone 2.

It’s got an HD screen, runs on Android, has expandable memory, and — for all you jet setters — two SIM card slots. You can even personalize the protective cover with your fav colour. And, of course, it’s got a sweet camera for all your IG needs.

Bas’ ever-growing team of 50 strong is aiming to accomplish exactly what the company’s name says — producing a fairly-made smartphone.

Along their way, they’ve got a few disruptive goals.

Need a new battery?

How about adding a new camera? Fairphone has built the world’s first modular phone with repairability and long-lasting design in mind.

We all know there are stupid things in the world such as blood diamonds (thanks Leo.) But sadly, they’re not the only questionable raw materials out there. Luckily, Fairphone is working closely with partners around the world to source only fair materials like, for example, conflict-free gold, tin and tungsten (right on!)

Fairphone is also very picky with its manufacturing partners. This allows you to know that the health and safety of the people building the Fairphone are well protected. For example, their work weeks don’t exceed 60 hours — as opposed to previously, workloads exceeding70 hours/week.

Overall, Fairphone is going full circle

The startup has put serious research into figuring out the best practices to recycle and reuse the parts that go into their smartphones.

All the above makes them leaders that are applying a circular mindset to their business , and this is putting Fairphone on top of the circular economy. (Yes, this a thing and we’re all gonna hear more of it soon. You heard it here first 📣)

Knowledge is power

Not only are they building the world’s first ethical smartphone, but they — much like the team here at The Goods — are big believers in the power of knowing more. Because the more you know, the more you are empowered. And this means helping us make better (ethical) decisions.

Fairphone’s main goal to close the gap between people and products is fueled by providing information.

For instance, how much profit does Fairphone keep for itself per product? Answer here. Or, how about knowing more on the journey your phone took to get into your hands? Map here.

Transparency makes up their list of KPIs. And that’s how they’re changing the rules to the smartphone game.

The human cost of your upgrade

Another one of Fairphone’s goal is to redesign the smartphone industry’s supply chain for the people it affects the most — those working to bring you a sleeker (newer) smartphone.

As outlined in a recent Greenpeace report on the smartphone industry, the more demand for new products grows, the more suppliers are willing to cut corners to deliver. Result: the risks and dangers for the workers also increase.

In the Congo, for instance, as demand for cobalt (for batteries) increases, small-scale mining operations speed up their operations to dig deeper underground without maps or safety equipment for their miners who risk asphyxiation or being trapped.

Meanwhile, factory workers in South Korea, have proposed numerous “allegations that their life-threatening illnesses, including cancer, are a result of exposure to hazardous chemicals from working at semiconductor factories.”

All this because, like fast fashion (we’re talking to you clothing industry), smartphone producers work hard to convince us to buy the latest and greatest.

Don’t be lured into the upgrades

It’s safe to conclude that the smartphone industry is a nasty mix of planned obsolescence, conspicuous consumption and a lot of waste.

We need less new models, and more this ♻️

Plus, honestly, how many more millimeters, megabytes or megapixels do you really need?

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