Fairphone becomes a trending topic for 2013


BANG! He smacks his mobile phone down on the table.

“Yes, this phone can take quite a beating.” When he turns round to greet someone, I see the blue mobile. “Yeah, it’s a Fairphone,” he smiles. As well he might! A mobile phone that says who you are and what you stand for. One that’s already hard to get your hands on. I’m envious! The environmentally-friendly smartphone is trending on Twitter, has had long queues of buyers queueing up the night before it went on sale, was discussed by self-styled gadget experts in De Wereld Draait Door on Dutch TV, and telecom industry analysts are talking about a revolution. 

All this could be happening for real next year…

We all know things can often go awry in the long and complicated production cycle of a mobile phone. And we also know that large companies in the supply chain demand adherence to international agreements. Large-scale and small-scale programmes have also brought improvements. But it was often too little, too late. Finally, in late 2011, an NGO stood up – not to scold, but to inspire change. In practising what they preached, their ideas became real-world plans. And from plans they grew into an actual company. A company that intends to bring ‘fair telephones’ to the market in late 2013.

This positive approach is inspirational, and Vodafone can learn from this. So we have decided that Vodafone and Fairphone will work together in a number of ways, including internationally. One of the agreements is that the Vodafone eco-score is used as one of the starting points for the development of the Fairphone. This is important both for Fairphone and for the telecom industry, because it makes it easier to compare the environmental impact of different mobile phones. At the same time, Fairphone will use its development process experiences to provide input for tightening the eco-score criteria. This will stimulate the whole industry to take sustainability issues more seriously during the development of a mobile phone.

Happily, Vodafone is not the only company to be collaborating with Fairphone. Other telecom industry parties are showing an increasing interest. This is not just the result of the enthusiasm of the people behind the Fairphone; this industry needs a strong sustainability impulse. While it will be a challenge to to make the Fairphone ‘100% Fair & Hip’, I believe that the enthusiasm and ideals of the Fairphone team will make it happen – and I give it my full support. The Fairphone will be a trending topic in 2013!

This is a guest post By Martin de Jong, CSR manager at Vodafone

Read Bas van Abel’s guest blog on the Vodafone’s blog (in Dutch).

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