Tha Fairphone : A smartphone with social values !

Tha Fairphone : A smartphone with social values !

Buy a fairphone, Join a movement” is kind of slogan for this new smartphone

The least we can say is that the smartphone industry and much was written on its unethical and unsustainable nature… A few months the program “Cash investigation”, broadcasted last November on France 2 TV and presented by Elise Lucet, pointed out issues around child labour, dangers and poor working conditions in factories abound, along with the fact that the mineral components for phones are often extracted from conflict mines owned by disreputable operators. So far, only two of the minerals in the phone – tin and tantalum – come from mines identified without conflict.

So hearing of a laptop So hear of a laptop developed on the field other virtues necessarily calls to mind. Indeed, the Fairphone prides itself on producing a more ethical smartphone. Next question is : How is fairphone different than other phones ?

If you screw up the screws with your screwdriver, you’re screwed” says Bas van Abel (Fairphone creator)

Actually, the idea came up in his mind when trying to open the Nintendo DS of his son, and Bas van Abel discovered at this stage how hard it was to find out how and by who a lot of our products are made. In the video below, he tells the story about how this process inspired him to embark on a journey to create the first Fair phone.
The founders of Fairphone knew that creating a totally fair phone would be a monumental task, because of the labyrinth of suppliers and companies involved. Fairphone believe the only way to make a phone genuinely fair is through trying to incrementally produce one and to keep adjusting it while putting pressure on the supply chain.

Distinct identity
We’re making a phone that puts social values first. One step at a time. We’re producing a phone to improve the electronics value chain. One step at a time.

We want to provide alternatives for miners in conflict-affected regions and to integrate materials in our supply chain that support local economies, not armed militias. We’re starting with conflict-free minerals from the DRC to stimulate alternative solutions.

Role of mining and conflict minerals in electronics production
Every smartphone contains about 40 different minerals, including tantalum, tungsten, copper, iron, nickel, aluminum, tin, silver, chromium, gold and palladium. Each performs a different role that is essential to the functionality of the phone. For example, tungsten is used in the vibration mechanism and tantalum is often used to make the capacitors smaller. All these minerals and metals originally enter the supply chain from the mining sector – a challenging industry in terms of sustainability. From pollution and extremely dangerous working conditions to child labor, a number of mining-related practices desperately require improvement. In recent years, in part due to the Dodd Frank Act in the US, conflict minerals have taken center stage in the quest to improve accountability in the mining sector. Conflict minerals fund rebel groups, contributing to political and economic instability while neglecting workers’ rights, safety and their ability to earn fair wages.

Passed in 2010, the Dodd Frank Act addresses tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold (3Ts and G) sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and surrounding high-risk areas. At Fairphone, we want to focus on sourcing conflict-free minerals, which is why we’re going straight to the conflict zone: the DRC. While conflict-free minerals are certainly available from other countries, our goal is to work directly where we can contribute to alternatives to current mining practices, empowering workers and improving the livelihoods of the local population. We want to become a vehicle for change in the regions that need it most.

Fairphone’s ambitions for Mining
Our purpose is to integrate as many responsibly mined minerals into our supply chain, with a special focus on areas of high-risk of conflict, like the DRC. Focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to buy from local initiatives, increase employment for small-scale miners and contribute to economic development and regional stability. Partnership with established multi-stakeholder initiatives that can trace minerals directly to their source. We also want increase industry and consumer awareness for the issues surrounding mining and existing alternatives and strive to improve working conditions for miners, which would introduce local wages, address child labour and reduce environmental degradation caused by mining practices.

A design that tells a bigger story and develop new relationships between people and their phones
We’re using design to change the relationship between people and their phones. We’re focusing on longevity and repairability to extend the phone’s usable life and give buyers more control over their products.

What kind of relationship do you have with your mobile phone? Is it an object that reflects your values and gives you a sense of pride? Or is it simply a tool that “gets the job done”, like a dishwasher or smoke alarm?

These days, consumer electronics are often viewed as semi-disposable objects, to be upgraded or discarded as soon as something better comes along. And the more quickly technology advances, the more consumers lose the ability to modify, repair and truly understand how their devices are made.

Fairphone is using design to change how people relate to their products. We want to empower people to regain control and ownership of technology by decreasing complexity and providing more transparency on how products are designed. We’re focusing on the longevity of our phones to extend their lifespan, improve repairability and build more enduring relationships with their owners. But designing a phone is about more than developing a consumer product. The Fairphone is a means to spark discussions and debate around the fairer production of mobile phones. Fairphone wants to bring more fairness to software

Manufacturing also means putting employee wellbeing front and center
Factory workers deserve safe conditions, fair wages and worker representation. We work closely with manufacturers that want to invest in employee wellbeing. Building relationships for better working conditions are essential.
When selecting a production partner to make the Fairphone, we decided to focus on creating positive impact in regions in which the electronics supply chain is most active. China is one of the most important countries for consumer electronics production, especially for devices with labor-intensive production processes. Our goal is to establish collaborative, mutually beneficial, and transparent relationships with our manufacturers to ensure worker representation, safe working conditions and fair pay.

We choose our production partners based on their willingness to work on social and environmental performance, as well as adhere to our technological requirements. A focus on social innovation, a willingness to invest in worker welfare and a commitment to transparency on activities is an essential part of a relationship to grow business together and create value based on mutual gain.

Life Cycle of our smartphones
We’re addressing the full lifespan of mobile phones, including use, reuse and safe recycling. We believe that our responsibility doesn’t end with sales. Every year, consumers throw away millions of mobile phones. This is because most phones aren’t built to last, paired with our desire to constantly upgrade our devices. Some of these discarded phones are properly recycled, but others end up in landfills or are recycled under dangerous working conditions. At the same time, new products are continuously manufactured to keep up with demand for the “latest thing.”

Fairphone’s ambitions are to encourage consumers to replace their phones only when they have reached the end of their usable life, to support and establish initiatives that provide safe recycling programs, particularly in regions where dangerous e-waste recycling is practiced. We also want to participate in programs that collect and safely recycle e-waste, and extend the usable life of Fairphones and incorporate features that add value for reuse and recycling. We also wish to offer consumers the ability to purchase spare parts and repair their own phones.

Social Entrepreneurship : Telling the whole story to empower consumers
Sharing our achievements and experiences as we create a fairer phone is a way to start new relationships between people and their products by showing where stuff comes from and how it’s made. We’re sharing the Fairphone story, so you can make informed decisions about what you buy.

As an active member of the international maker and digital fabrication community, Bas van Abel has developed a wide variety of projects based on open design principles. As Creative Director of Waag Society’s Open Design Lab, he initiated projects such as the community fabrication laboratory Fablab Amsterdam and opened his own open-source restaurant: Instructables Restaurant.


Credit : Fairphone — changing the way products are made: Bas van Abel at TEDxAmsterdam”
Link :
Made by TEDx

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