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Fairphone 2 is first smartphone to receive Blue Angel certification

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I’m very proud to share some good news: the Fairphone 2 has now received the Blue Angel certification. With this distinction, our phone joins more than 12,000 products and services that have been singled out for aspiring to better environmental standards. But what’s even more remarkable is the fact that the Fairphone 2 is the very first smartphone to earn this well-known German ecolabel. Today we have officially received the Blue Angel certificate from the hands of Barbara Hendricks, the Minister for the Environment in Germany.

A German environmental label with a strong history

Started in 1978, the Blue Angel (der Blaue Engel in German), is the longest-running environmental certification scheme worldwide. It’s backed by the German federal government, with support from the Environmental Label Jury, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, the Federal Environmental Agency and RAL gGmbH. The certification covers 80+ categories, giving individual consumers as well as businesses a way to make more informed choices and identity products and services that align with more environmentally conscious standards.

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Fairphone accepts the Blue Angel certificate from Barbara Hendricks, German Minister for the Environment.

This certification is widely recognized and respected in German-speaking countries, and is gaining importance throughout the rest of Europe as well. The Fairphone 2 received the Blue Angel certification based on a wide range of criteria, including:

  • Low electromagnetic radiation
  • Product lifetime extension
  • Active promotion of take-back programs and recyclable design

See the complete criteria list.

What does this certification mean for Fairphone?

In the past, we’ve been hesitant to pursue certifications, and even a bit critical of the methods and credibility of some of them. For example, because there are so many different public and private certification options, they can create confusion rather than clarity. In addition, they tell a simplified sustainability story about the product at hand. For example, on this certification there are no criteria favouring easy repair or the supply of conflict free materials.

Labelling cannot provide the holistic, dynamic, content-specific perspective that’s necessary to navigate our complex and culturally diverse world in which globalized supply chains are framed. They can also be expensive, meaning that not all companies have the same opportunities for consideration. (Have a look at these past blog posts by Raluca and me for more information.)

The role of certifications

However, we recognize the role of certifications to increasingly move the needle for environmental and social standards. They are not “set-in-stone” standards; the moment you are in, you need to comply with new standards that the certification includes with every update, or else you risk losing your certificate. This is a good way to get other companies in making a clear commitment to sustainability for today and the future.

But what does the Blue Angel certification really mean for us? First of all, we are especially honored to receive this recognition because it is the world’s first ecolabel and it is promoted by respected, independent German public institutions, giving it a high level of credibility. The Blue Angel is also well recognized among German-speaking consumers, and will therefore support our efforts to raise awareness about sustainability issues (and related solutions) in the mobile phone sector. Finally, this certification will help us to differentiate our product, as well as give organizations the ability to make more responsible procurement decisions.

As the first smartphone to receive this certification, we see it as an important next step in inspiring the mobile phone industry to produce more environmentally-friendly products. We hope that other brands will follow our example, and we strongly encourage them to pursue the Blue Angel certification as well.

Thanks to our team members

There is also a story to be told about the people behind getting to this certification. Taritha made the first assessment and compilation of documents, Olivier was great at guiding us through all the technicalities and helping us reach out to the right parties and Flavia was brilliant at project managing and chasing suppliers to get things done. What a team!

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