Fairphone - An Idea Worth Spreading!

Fairphone started in 2010 as a project of Waag society, Action Aid and Schrijf-Schrijf, aimed at raising awareness about conflict minerals in electronics and the wars that the sourcing of these minerals is fueling in the DR Congo. The campaign and research into the complex supply chain ran for 3 years. In 2013, they established Fairphone as a social enterprise with the aim of designing, creating and producing a smartphone and taking the next crucial step in uncovering the story behind the sourcing, production, distribution and recycling of electronics.

Already the campaign is spreading around the world in media such as The Guardian, Financial Times, Huffington Post, The Verge, Computerworld, Svenska Dagbladet and Der Spiegel. The plan is to manufacture 20.000 phones in the first batch and as of today 11,868 people have preorded one. Of course, they use smart story-telling techniques to get their message through. Which is probably one of the reasons Fairphone has been picked up by TEDx Amsterdam.

It can be argued that given the vast amount of components in an advanced electronic device it is impossible to develop a phone that is completely fair from a people-planet-profit perspective. However, I think Fairphone is definitely a big step in the right direction. Not only do they focus on sourcing material from non-conflict countries, worker welfare and the product life-cycle, but they also try to make it last longer by using an open technical design. In addition, the pricing is transparent. It is also an interesting example of social enterprising. Simply an idea worth spreading!