Fairphone is a new phone built in an ethical way using (mostly) ethically sound sources. It’s a reaction to the ongoing problems with electronics manufactures who get minerals from conflict regions (think blood diamonds) and places with no labour protection. Until Fairphone, there was no way to get a phone that didn’t support repressive and violent organizations.
Let’s hope Fairphone catches on! They are already sold out of their first run.
Fairphone, founded by designer Bas van Abel in 2010, is seeking incremental gains. So far the startup has managed to ethically source only tin and tantalum by partnering with NGOs that track supply chains. As for the other 28 minerals, Bleekemolen says, “We don’t have a clue where they come from.” She also notes that the tin and tantalum are only conflict-free, meaning rebel groups don’t have access to profits, but they aren’t necessarily produced with fair labor practices in mind. The goal is to improve sourcing with each new iteration of Fairphone.
Funded almost entirely through crowdsourcing, Fairphone has already received 15,000 orders for its phone, which retails for $440 and will become available in December. The handset looks similar to a Samsung (005930) Galaxy or Apple (AAPL), is unlocked, works with all mobile carriers, and runs on a custom version of Google (GOOG)‘s Android operating system.
Thanks to Dave!