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Fairphone 2014: A year in review

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As the cold December weather arrives, it’s an excellent reminder to reflect on the challenges and triumphs of 2014. This year has been full of events, trips, projects, press coverage and selling out of Fairphone stock. Our heads are still spinning from everything that has happened! In an attempt to summarize 2014, we thought that it was best to let the numbers do the talking for us.

But before we begin, an important note – here at the Fairphone office we’ll be putting our phones on hold and setting our Skype status to “away holidaying” as we take a two-day break. So on 25 and 26 December our office will be closed and we won’t be available to answer your calls or respond to your emails. Please be patient as small delays may occur around this period. However, on 29 December we will dust off our snow boots and reopen with regular operating hours.

Oh, what a year!

This year our hard work has led to a number of accomplishments which we feel quite proud of. Our foremost achievement is that we are still an independent social enterprise, and we’ve got our community to thank for that! Because of your ongoing support, we sourced tin and tantalum from conflict-free mines in the DRC, started a worker-controlled Welfare Fund at our manufacturer in China, contributed to an e-waste collection scheme in Ghana, set up a phone Recycling Program, updated our website, invested in a 3D printer, decided to make a new Fairphone, and of course, sold out of our first and second batch Fairphones.

Measuring the company

Thanks to your overwhelming support in 2014, our Fairphone community spread, our sales increased and our workload grew exponentially, meaning we needed to recruit more hands to keep on top of everything. We took on a total of 18 new employees, meaning 42 people worked, interned or contributed to projects this year, with a perfect gender split of 21 males and 21 females. Currently, we have 32 employees, making our once-spacious office feel a little overcrowded.

Although we enjoy working shoulder-to-shoulder with our colleagues, a newer and bigger office was in order. We looked at 17 offices until we finally decided on 1 (conveniently located 200 meters from our current location), where we will be moving early next year.

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The Fairphone team is moving to a more spacious office early next year.
Despite our rapidly growing team of employees (and rapidly decreasing space at the lunch table) we want to make sure that our employees feel comfortable, connected and humming with positive energy. This year we’ve had 20 office drinks, 2 parties, and offered many workshops and trainings – including morning yoga classes. While enjoying our daily lunch together, we’ve eaten more than 150 tubs of hummus and over 250 blocks of Tony’s Chocolonely’s fair trade chocolate.

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Happy Fairphone team with Tony’s Chocolonely’s fair trade chocolate.
Our diverse team of different backgrounds, nationalities and personalities (all of whom have a fantastic sense of humour) means that conversation by the coffee machine is always interesting. Together, we come from 18 countries and can speak 14 languages.

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Together, Fairphone team members come from 18 countries.
But it’s not all chocolate and coffee – we also had bigger things to do. In China, we organized 3 training programs for workers in Guohong, invested 300,000 USD in the Worker Welfare Fund where 28 workers were elected as representatives and reserve representatives. In Ghana, we collected almost 75,000 end-of-life phones and we visited 2 mine sites in the DRC and 2 in Rwanda.

This year our Customer Support team powered through 34,700 customer queries (including 29 from customers who dropped their Fairphone in the toilet). We offer support in English, Dutch and German, but with buyers all over Europe, we’ve also used Google Translate a countless number of times.

During the year, we have prepared 4 software updates, written 35 blog posts, sent 39 newsletters and since July, we’ve sent and received a total of 695,342 emails.

Now over to you! What happened in the Fairphone community?

The exact number of people in our global community is impossible to accurately count. So instead we took a look at our various community channels. Currently, we have 75,224 fans on Facebook, 15,700 followers on Twitter, 43,632 subscribers to the Fairphone newsletter and almost 60,000 of you are proud Fairphone owners. In 2014, our website was visited 2,365,732 times, from 196 countries, with the Germans, Dutch, French and British being the most frequent visitors.

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You may remember reading Second batch delivery begins, this year’s most popular blog post with 364 comments. Or you may have been 1 of the 1,121 people on Facebook to like our post We’re making 35,000 Fairphones shared 398 times. As a community we’re united around a common mission and these growing numbers show we’re a few steps closer on our journey to creating a fairer economy.

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Overview of the traffic to the Fairphone website http://fairphone.com from 1 January to 21 December 2014. Image Source: Fairphone Google Analytics account.

Press, events, exhibitions and more

This year you may have spotted Fairphone while reading your local newspaper, flicking through a magazine or on your television set. We’re overwhelmed by this year’s press coverage. We’ve been interviewed 148 times and have been covered in 1000s of newspaper and magazine articles from the Guardian and Reuters to Le Monde and Le Figaro, throughout 64 countries and in 31 languages. We participated in 31 events, held 15 urban mining workshops and feel honored that the Fairphone was part of  7 museum exhibitions, including the Design Museum and the Science Museum in London.

Teaming up with others

To build our supply chain, we’ve traveled to 15 countries: China, Singapore, Taiwan, Ghana, the DRC, Rwanda, Switzerland, Belgium, the UK, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Austria, Spain and Portugal. When we couldn’t jump on a plane, we relied on 8 research projects conducted about Fairphone to learn more about our market and buyers. A big thanks to the 4,737 of you who participated in our most recent survey.

We enjoy collaborating with other startups, companies and organizations to share ideas and grow with others. This year we’ve linked up with 5 resellers, and sold to businesses, NGOs and political parties. We’ve engaged with iFixit for repair guides, 3D Hubs and Cairon for cases, Teqcycle for our Recycling Program, Closing the Loop to address recycling and e-waste in Ghana, Solutions for Hope and Conflict-Free Tin Initiative for conflict-free minerals, Qelp for tutorials, Booreiland for our website, rePod for repairs and many other companies.

Awards

Here are the 3 awards we won in 2014:

Sustainia
Community Award

New York Design Awards
Award in Product Design – Technology

The Manufacturing Institute
Enterprise Excellence for Innovation in Manufacturing

And here are the 5 awards we were nominated for:

GreenTec Awards
GreenTec Production and GreenTec Start Up (VOTE for us before 11 January)

Contagious
Most Contagious Startup

London Design Museum
Designs of the Year

NIMA
Dutch Marketing Award

Management Team
Game Changer 2014

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The awards that Fairphone won in 2013 and 2014.

We’ll see you in 2015

Thanks for helping us make 2014 a flying success. We may not be mathematicians, but these numbers look pretty good to us. We hope you’ll continue to be a part of our journey in 2015 as we keep working to increase our social and environmental impact and further uncover the supply chain to change how things are made. Read our earlier blog Outlook for 2015 to find out more about our strategy and goals for the coming year. Happy holidays everyone, and we look forward to seeing you in the new year.

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