A fair and sustainable smartphone


The first Fairphone model was released in 2014 by the eponymous Dutch company and has approximately 60,000 users. The philosophy behind their smartphone is straightforward: developing a ‘fair’ mobile phone. The first model (Fairphone 1) was already much fairer than the smartphones offered by its competitors, but there was still room for improvement. One example was the need to rely on Asian factories because of limited resources. It was therefore not clear if fair working conditions were always respected.

During the production of the second model (aptly called ‘Fairphone 2’), some new goals were set. The number of resources were increased (Fairphone had only 5 employees in 2013, but now almost 40) and that allowed them to aim for: an original design, complete supply chain transparency, and a modular architecture that allows the consumer to increase the life cycle of their device.

This means that the Fairphone relies as much as possible on recycled or recyclable spare parts. Furthermore, so-called ‘blood minerals’ are never used. This term is used for minerals that are essential for the production of mobile phones (for example coltan) and that are found in Congolese mines which are run by armed militias. Fairphone has partnered with the Conflict-Free-Tin initiative to support fairer and better mining practices. Close attention is paid so that no children are employed, and that the mines are not under militia control. The Fairphone 2 concept was designed by Fairphone. This guarantees the company complete control over the manufacturing process and the working conditions in their factories.

Finally, the Fairphone 2 boasts a longer-than-average life duration compared to its competitors, due to removable and replaceable spare parts (for example the battery and the screen). The Fairphone 2 comes equipped with a shock-resistant cover. There is no need to buy extra protection. Here are some of the main specifications: the Fairphone 2 has a 5’ HD screen, an 8 Megapixel camera, it runs on OS Android 5.1 Lollipop, has 32 GB internal storage (expandable via MicroSD slot), up to 4G connectivity, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth,…

Conclusion: if you are looking for a smartphone that is ‘fair’, if you only use a limited amount of apps and if you are likely to replace certain spare parts, then the Fairphone is something to consider. If however you are looking for a powerful device, you should probably shop around a bit more (for the time being anyway).

The Fairphone 2 is available online (pre-sale) and should be delivered in December. More info can be found on: https://www.fairphone.com/