Buying a mobile device these days can feel like signing a pact with the devil – and to make matters worse, it’s difficult to determine where the parts were sourced and assembled and whether they were ethically produced. Fairphone aims to take the guilt out of gadgetry by producing the world’s first openly-designed, conflict-free smartphone. The company launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to reach their minimum goal of 5,000 pre-orders and now the Fairphone is on its way towards mass production.
The dual SIM, Android phone comes equipped with a Mediatek 6589 chipset and 16 GB internal memory. Running on Jellybean 4.2, the mobile device contains two 8 megapixel cameras, a 4.3 qHD touch display, and scratch-resistant Dragontrail glass. The materials are sourced from conflict-free areas, and the company has partnered with initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the Solutions for Hope Project to ensure that the tin and coltan required for their phones do not fund illegal forces, improve working and mining standards, and help stabilize the region.
They team is close to being able to use Fairtrade gold, and they are currently in talks with Rwanda to find conflict-free tungsten. Tin will eventually come from Banka, Indonesia. Their ultimate goal is to make the phones completely from recycled materials. Customers receive a bill of materials with the purchase of every €325 phone that allows them to track a transparent supply chain. In addition to being environmentally and socially conscious in its production, the Fairphone can be easily taken apart for recycling and the company is hoping for programming insight from those who develop for Firefox and Ubuntu.
Fairphone has made their first 20,000 units, and almost half have already been purchased. They are currently only available in Europe, but with enough demand, we hope to see an expansion into North America!