“Smartphones and other electronic devices are among the most resource intensive by weight on the planet–miners must dig through more than 30 kilos of rock to obtain the 100 or so grams of minerals used in a smartphone.” (1)
I’ve gone through a lot of phones in my time, from being clumsy to a pickpockets dream and a mobile designer I’ve had more than my fair share. After doing some research it was easy to see that the Fairphone2 was the way to go. Since then Greenpeace has published a comprehensive guide on electronics (1) which show that Fairphone is still at the top of the list for their Green credentials.
I was also massively relieved and very surprised to see Apple at number 2. As a designer, I have been using Apple computers and laptops since I could first afford one/got a graduate loan out in 2004. I’m aware that there are still some very problematic areas of the business and historically things haven’t always been as good but this looks like progress to me.
Back to Fairphone: It’s a little clunky but it has a lot of charm. It’s taken a few knocks but still looks good as new. I love that it powers up with the message “Change is in your hands”.
Fairphone goals are wonderful and split into 4 key areas. You can read more on their website but I wanted to pull out some info as I think the work they do is really inspiring:
The phone is modular. Key components of the phone can be upgraded and replaced and the best part is: you can do it yourself. You can also carry around a spare battery. Anyone remember those days? No? Just me 🙂 I’m awaiting an order of a new camera module which now comes as standard. I’m looking forward to seeing how I get on with replacing it myself.
The company who created Fairphone are so passionate about sourcing materials responsibly they set up sustainability advisory firm The Dragonfly Initiative which was “established to enable businesses in the natural resources, precious metals and gemstones supply chains – from production to retail, site to shelf, mine to market – to work collaboratively in realising an environmentally, socially and financially responsible system of connected enterprises.” (2)
Good Working Conditions
They also set up ‘Ways of Working Together’ (3) with a variety of production partners, labour rights experts, NGOs and researchers. “We’re developing innovative programs to improve worker satisfaction and representation and to open the lines of communication between workers and management. Furthermore, we are an active member of the Clean Electronics Production Network (CEPN). This is a multi-stakeholder initiative with the goal to move the electronics industry towards zero exposure of workers to toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process.”
Reuse and Recycling
Fairphone supports recycling programs to “ensure valuable materials can be used again and again”. You can also buy factory refurbished phones to further reduce electronic waste. I got mine from here.
What is not to love?
Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics 2017: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/reports/greener-electronics-2017/#ref6
The Dragonfly Initiative: http://thedragonflyinitiative.com/
Ways of working together: https://www.fairphone.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Ways_of_Working_Together_Fairphone-1.pdf