Fairphone: the smartphone for smart people

Scary fact of the day: did you know there are more mobile phones in the world than people?

This piece was inspired by a recent Facebook post where I wrote about compostible phone cases (it’s the Pela Case, in case you’re interested).

As part of my research, I had come across the Fairphone, which to me was a thing of beauty (and I’m not really one for gadgets) and made so much sense to me as a modern, ethical product that represents the way we should be making things.

But we’re not yet — or at least not as much as we should be.

Here are some ethical facts about your mobile phone which you may or may not know:

  • It’s likely made using materials mined in highly polluting and highly dangerous conditions;
  • It’s most probably made using child labour somewhere down the supply chain;
  • It’s probably made in a factory where people work long hours and where health and safety standards are poor;
  • Phones aren’t built to last and most end up in landfill. Just think of those nasty chemicals and metals leaking into the ground!

Fairphone’s aims are to tackle all of these issues. They have made a phone using conflict-free and recycled materials (and which at the end of its life can be broken down and recycled), and as a company they go ‘beyond simple compliance’ (which is mostly a tick box affair) by working with charities and NGOs on the ground to improve working conditions and workers rights.

If you’d like to understand more about Fairphone, what they do and how they do it, here’s a little video for you:

In our technology-obsessed world that is only going to become increasingly reliant on gadgets, Fairphone’s approach is, in my view, the only sensible route to follow, and I for one am definitely moving over from my iPhone to a Fairphone at the next opportunity. As luck would have it, I’ve been informed that their mobiles are available at The Phone Co-op, the ethical telecommunications company, on PAYG and monthly contracts (and at affordable prices too – wheee!).

Our addiction to mobiles and to having the latest version of the whichever whizzy gadget is damaging people and planet in ways that we don’t think about when chatting, messaging or going online via these tiny handheld computers. More than ever before, we have a choice as consumers to make smarter, more ethically conscious purchases, especially if there are appropriate and easily actionable options available to us: switching to an ethical phone is one step we should all be taking.

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