Have you ever stopped to consider who made your phone? Thousands of people played a role in creating the powerful device you carry with you every day. We believe that everyone working in the electronics industry should have a decent life, a sufficient income, a safe workplace and the opportunity to be heard on their opinions and concerns.
Read our open letter on the inclusion of living wage and income in EU law here >>
The electronics industry is notorious for poor working conditions: Child labor, hazardous working conditions, extreme poverty Here are just a few of the reasons why we need to do things differently.
1. Over 18 million people work in the electronics manufacturing industry and another 100 million work in the mining of materials used for manufacturing. They face various inhumane conditions.
2. Many companies work with codes of conduct and audits, but these often don’t address the more pressing and systemic issues like excessive overtime and low wages.
3. Often, workers are unable to express their opinion or concerns and risk losing their job if they ask for union support.
To make a lasting impact, we go beyond the traditional compliance model. We’re working with a variety of production partners, labor rights experts and NGOs to develop innovative programs to improve job satisfaction and representation, and to open the lines of communication between workers and management. Our approach puts workers and their needs first, focusing on:
Living wages: We’ve introduced a bonus at our final assembly partner to move closer to living wages. This program will help employees better support themselves and their families, improve worker happiness and retention, and slowly reduce the need for excessive overtime. Together with a coalition of companies, investors and initiatives, we call on the Members of the European Parliament, European Commission and other member states to ensure that living wage and income are included as a human right in their Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. Read our open letter here >>
Worker voice & satisfaction: We listen to what the workers want to change, involve them in the implementation of solutions and empower them to have an influence on their working conditions.
Impact beyond compliance: We focus on progress and performance, and the happiness and well-being of the workers instead of just checklists.
Partnership: We work closely with selected suppliers and their workers to co-create and co-invest in improvement plans.
Together with our partners and community of Fairphone owners, we’re moving closer to a world where workers are treated fairly, paid well and take pride in what they do.
Our efforts include:
In 2019 Fairphone pioneered the first living wage program in the electronics industry: we pay factory workers a bonus of 1,85 USD per Fairphone 3+ and 1,99 USD per Fairphone 4. This results in one to three months of extra salary per worker if you earn the minimum wage. Fairtrade certified gold and unconditional cash transfers for tin mining communities in DRC help move small-scale miners and their communities towards living incomes.
Working with our production partner of Fairphone 3, Arima, we’ve launched a series of improvement initiatives that include surveys and feedback sessions, worker training and improvements to the working and living facilities. The key here is that we ask workers what should be improved and strengthen worker representation and worker-management communication so they can safely and effectively voice their concerns and participate in finding solutions.
We’ve also kicked off similar programs deeper in the supply chain, with indirect component suppliers of Fairphone 3 and Fairphone 4 like Baolong, GCE, Concraft and Polight.
Child labor is especially prevalent in the mining sector. Through our Uganda Gold project, our Fairtrade gold sourcing and the Fair Cobalt Alliance, we contribute to strengthening mining communities while reducing child labor.
Our production partner for Fairphone 4 has SA8000 certification, one of the highest standards on safe and decent working conditions. In addition, we’ve implemented concrete health and safety improvements at the factories together with direct and indirect suppliers of Fairphone 3 and 4, such as Arima, Baolong and Concraft. Through our fair material sourcing, we also drive better working conditions at the mine sites.
Memberships and networks Fairphone is active in include:
Clean Electronics Production Network (CEPN): a multi-stakeholder initiative with the goal to ensure workers are not exposed to hazardous chemicals.
Responsible Business Alliance: an industry coalition dedicated to corporate social responsibility in global supply chains.
Living Wage Lab: a multi-stakeholder platform to develop innovative ways to realize living wages.
This research doesn’t just highlight the ways “business as usual” is failing workers: it provides us with valuable insight about opportunities to make our supply chain fairer.Learn more
A Fairphone isn’t just another product: it is the people that make it. People who are skilled in their fields, working to provide for their families, to receive an education, or a higher quality of life.Meet the makers
To gain a deeper understanding of the complex, often opaque consumer electronics supply chain, we’re mapping all the different materials, suppliers and manufacturing locations involved in creating our phone.All the details
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