What is Fairphone?
Fairphone is a social enterprise that started with the goal of opening up the supply chain, understanding how products are made and creating a better connection between people and the things they own. Our hope was to create greater transparency and start serious discussions – we didn’t actually envision ourselves as consumer electronics producers when we began!
Actually, Fairphone is not about the phone itself. We decided to focus on phones, because they are a ubiquitous product that nearly everyone owns or uses. The Fairphone itself serves to start a conversation about opening up supply chains and a storytelling object to help consumers gain more awareness about the social and environmental impacts of the electronics they purchase. As we see it, we don’t just want consumers to buy a product – we want them to become part of a larger movement.
We want to make a phone that puts ethical considerations first, and doesn’t just focus on technological improvements. By creating an alternative in the smartphone market, our ultimate aim is to raise the bar for the entire industry.
How and when did Fairphone start?
We started in 2010 as a project of Waag Society, Action Aid and Schrijf-Schrijf aimed at raising awareness about conflict minerals in electronics and the wars that the sourcing of these minerals is fueling in the DR Congo. The campaign and research into the complex supply chain ran for 3 years. In 2013, we established our social enterprise with the aim of designing, creating and producing our first smartphone and taking the next crucial steps in uncovering the story behind the sourcing, production, distribution and recycling of electronics.