‘People and the Planet’ are key considerations to the Dutch company’s goals in an era of ethical products
DUTCH social enterprise company Fairphone recently announced the launch of its latest smartphone: the Fairphone 3. Billed as a new, improved modular phone, the company is trying to bridge the gap between performance and sustainability.
From electronic waste and massive CO2 emissions to harsh working conditions and devastating sourcing practices, the smartphone industry is a huge contributor to some of the world’s most serious environmental and human rights problems.
Since 2013, Fairphone has been pioneering new approaches to improve the way these products are made. The Fairphone 3 combines ambition for a fairer electronics industry with the insights it gained from creating two prior phones to achieve its most advanced modular phone to date.
But what sets Fairphone apart from regular smartphones is its commitment to fair practice and sustainability. Fairphone says it is expanding on existing projects and introducing new initiatives to make its supply chain fairer for all involved. By collaborating with final assembly partner Arima to improve employee satisfaction by improving worker representation, health and safety and by paying a bonus to workers with the aim to bridge the gap between minimum and living wages in the factory.
Fairphone CEO Eva Gouwens says consideration for people and the planet are key to the company’s goals.
“We envision an economy where consideration for people and the planet is a natural part of doing business and according to this vision, we have created scalable ways to improve our supply chain and product. We developed the Fairphone 3 to be a real sustainable alternative on the market, which is a big step towards lasting change. By establishing a market for ethical products, we want to motivate the entire industry to act more responsibly since we cannot achieve this change alone.”
The phone is crafted with responsibly sourced and conflict-free tin and tungsten, recycled copper and plastics, and sources Fairtrade gold – the first electronics manufacturer to integrate Fairtrade gold into its supply chain.
Fairphone also claims it is in the process of setting up an initiative for better sourcing of cobalt, the key mineral for the energy transition. To combat e-waste, the phone supports collection programmes in countries like Ghana and will reward buyers for using Fairphone’s recycle programme to return their previous phones.
“When you hold a Fairphone 3 you’re holding more than a bunch of impressive specs, says CEO Ms Gouwens. “Sure, it’s got a brilliant camera, the battery life is awesome, the screen is big and crisp, and there’s heaps of memory. But what sets this phone apart is an idea that millions of people have turned into something incredibly powerful: a proof of concept for a future that’s kinder to humans and to the Earth. A statement that a better world is possible. That change is in your hands.”
Fairphone has refined the modular architecture to be more reliable and durable in a sleeker and slimmer design. The Fairphone 3 contains 7 modules, which have been designed to support easy repairs and support long-lasting and sustainable phones. The device also packs long battery life thanks to a power-sipping Qualcomm 632 processor and manages to include a 12 MP Dual-Pixel rear camera and 8 MP front camera.
Other specs include a healthy 64GB of memory, which can be expanded to over 256GB through MicroSD, Gorilla Glass 5 and almost unique modular architecture. The device will be sold with sustainable and reusable packaging.
The Fairphone 3 is available for presale on Fairphone’s website for a suggested retail price of approximately $500.