In the past few years, a company has taken on a very ambitious mission: producing and selling a phone that is made from materials acquired under good conditions in order to promote a fairer world economy. Fairphone describes itself as a “social enterprise with the goal of creating a fairer economy.” Driven more by ethics than by profit, the Fairphone may be of a lot of interest to people who care about the social values the company is fighting for. Learn more about the product and the company below.
The origin of Fairphone
The Fairphone company began by opening up supply chains to learn how things were made and build connections between people and the products they purchase. The goal of the Fairphone is to take on challenging issues involving the production of technology and foster discussion about what is good and right and fair. The business wishes to, more than make a few dollars, change how products are commonly made. The Fairphone’s website outlines what it describes as the road to a fairer phone. Here are a few of the steps.
- The Conflict-Free Tin Initiative kicked off in 2012
- The Fairphone partnered with Closing the Loop to address recycling
- The Fairphone participated in the responsible sourcing of minerals
- The first Fairphone cost breakdown was conducted
- The first Fairphones with tin were officially certified conflict-free
- Training Guohong factory to introduce the concept of Worker Welfare was completed
- The first Design A Day challenge kicked off for Fairphone 3D-printed cases in July 2014
- 3D-printed cases became available for local printing
- The newest model of the Fairphone readies for a Summer 2015 release
How a Fairphone is “fair”
Fairphone has five main areas in which it will try to instigate social impact. Those are:
- Mining: Fairphone wants to source materials from local economies rather than from armed militias. That effort started with acquisition conflict-free minerals from the DR Congo.
- Design: The Fairphone is meant to last longer than the average smartphone so that buyers don’t have to keep buying new ones that might lead to extra harm to the environment.
- Manufacturing: Factory workers receive safe conditions, fair wages and worker representation.
- Life Cycle: Similar to the design efforts, the company is determined for the Fairphone to be reusable and recyclable to not cause any unnecessary damage to the environment.
- Social Entrepreneurship: The transparency of the business ensures that it won’t turn into a company fueled by big payouts, but rather be held extremely accountable by its customers in case they ever stray from the mission they were born out of.
Fairphone vs. other smartphones
So how does the Fairphone compare to the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and other popular types of smartphones? You shouldn’t expect the world from it, for obvious reasons, but it’s pretty impressive. Its scratch-resistant screen is a little smaller than the size of the screen of an iPhone 5 and 5s, it has the same 16 GB of memory and it contains similar front and back cameras. The operating system is based on the Android 4.2.2 operating system, better known as Jelly Bean. Android has actually released two new OSs (KitKat and Lollipop) since Jelly Bean, but someone really concerned about the environment might be willing to sacrifice getting the latest software for something like Fairphone that actively tries to make a difference in the world.
Cost and availability
Fairphone is only available in Europe right now and costs 310€, which equates to $340.10. The production of the latest model is expected to begin in May with the delivery scheduled for June or July. Visit their website if you want to be on the ground floor of a potential revolution.