Fairphone is a company founded in the Netherlands that wants to improve the conditions around sourcing, production, distribution and recycling of electronics. The first Fairphone came to life by selling 5000 phones in a crowd funding campaign. The Fairphone 2 is to be expected in 2015.
What is so different about the Fairphone
Fairphone wants to make a difference in all the different stages electronics go through, starting at production. With the collection of the necessary minerals, Fairphone want a supply chain that supports local economies, not armed militias. The phones are designed in a way to make them last and easier to repair by selling spare parts and offering online repair tutorials. Fairphone makes sure that during the manufacturing process, the employees work in safe conditions and get a fair wage. And when the phone really needs full replacement, they offer a take back program that ensures the old phones are properly recycled.
What are the other manufacturers are doing
Basically, everything Fairphone is not. Do a quick google search on Samsung/Apple working conditions and you will find pages full of horrible stories. The working conditions for the people working in the mines, especially the illegal ones, are life threatening. Even though the companies claim otherwise, minerals from the illegal mines do end up in their products.
But life threatening situations do not end at this beginning stage. People are also mall treated during the manufacturing process.
When the devices have reached the consumers, they are not build to last. Some broken phones are properly recycled, but others end up in landfills or are recycled under dangerous working conditions.
Fairphone in the field
Fairphone started in 2010 as a project of Waag Society, Action Aid and Schrijf-Schrijf to raise awareness about conflict minerals in consumer electronics and the wars that the mining of these minerals is fuelling in the DR Congo. The campaign and related research ran for three years. In 2013, Fairphone was officially established as a social enterprise to help reach their goals.
The first Fairphone hit the market mid 2013 and all of its 25,000 phones are sold out. Most of the phones were sold in Germany and cost 325 EUR or around 343 USD. The Fairphone 2 should reach the first buyers in July 2015.
Specs (full list)
OS Android™ 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) With special Fairphone interface
Chipset MT6589 (quad-core) @ 1.2 Ghz
System Memory 16GB (Storage) + 1GB (RAM)
Camera 8 MP (back side) + 1.3 MP for photos and video calls (front)
Glass Dragontrail glass, durable and scratch-resistant
qHD display: 4.3 inches of touch-screen fun (960×540 pixels)
Root access You have immediate superuser access for more control over your phone and what’s running on it.