Fairtrade mobile phone manufacturing is the name of Fairphone’s game and the organisation is currently in the development phase of its second model.
It’s not very often that every one in the manufacturing supply chain is compensated rightfully for their work and this especially happens rarely in the developing world where very few laws are in place to regulate workers’ rights as well as social and environmental standards.
Most of the smartphones produced in the world often don’t meet minimum social and environmental guidelines due to lack of monitoring and scarce distribution of resources. One of the best examples of this is tantalum, a rare element found in very few, high density places within the earth’s crust and which is used as an integral ingredient in the capacitors inside the smartphone. Currently, the element is mined in Congo and very often it’s mining goes unmonitored due to the country’s inner civil crisis, with armed groups financing themselves through the sale of the minerals and using violent means to strategically control mines where these minerals are sourced. The same type of expoitation occurs within manufacturing in China and other parts of the world and labourers are very often not compensated equally for the time and effort they put in compared to the market worth of the smartphone as an end product.
Fairphone is a Dutch company that manufactures and sells ethically-produced smartphones. The first model went on sale in December 2013 and its limited run of 23,439 units quickly sold out. Among the measure it implements towards producing conflict-free phones, Fairphone, has been taking steps towards implementing Fairtrade gold into parts of their supply chain.The company recently announced that a revised second edition of the fair smartphones will be soon out in the market this summer.
Each phone will cost 310 EUR including VAT (21 percent) with shipping available within Europe only. Production will start in mid-May and the phone will be available to buyers by the end of June, mid-July. They will make a limited number of devices, so sales are on a first-come, first-served basis – you can sign up to their waiting list here.
To help the team avoid producing more handsets than is necessary (thereby making sure that the resources required will actually be used and not languish on a shop shelf), the production of the second edition will only begin if there is enough demand. Potential customers must register their interest by 31st March on the company’s survey. Even though Fairphone does not have the same market share when compared with the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, the company sets a standard for fair, sustainable industry practice and is the onvious choice for consumers seeking conflict-free gadgets where social and environmental standards have not been compromised during the production of their smartphones.