The Fairphone 2 – the modular, ethical smartphone that aims to change the world for the better – has been unveiled at the London Design Festival.
Based in Amsterdam, Fairphone began life in 2010 as a campaign to increase awareness of the use of conflict minerals in consumer electronics. In 2013, Fairphone transitioned from a campaign to a formal social enterprise, and launched ‘the first smartphone that puts social values first’.
The organisation works directly with suppliers that trace materials back to conflict-free validated mines, starting with tin and tantalum from the Democratic Republic of Congo and, in the near future, tungsten and gold. In addition, it is setting up a worker welfare fund at the factory in Suzhou, China, where the phones are manufactured, with a contribution from every Fairphone 2 sale going directly to the fund.
Fairphone has also published a detailed cost breakdown of the Fairphone 2 on its website, to give consumers greater insight into what it costs to make, sell and service a phone, to bring more transparency to the industry.
The new device features a 5-inch, full HD Gorilla Glass LCD display, runs Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and has 32GB of internal storage. It was co-designed with London design and innovation agency Seymourpowell, with a modular architecture that means the phone is easy to open and repair, resulting in a longer lasting device that challenges the increasingly short product cycles and throwaway nature of consumer electronics.
“We are excited about the potential this phone has to change the electronics industry and the way products are made – and to finally be able to present it to the world,” said Bas van Abel, founder and CEO of Fairphone.
Fairphone has been instrumental in building an active community to expand the movement for fairer electronics, and in June became the first mobile phone manufacturer to be officially certified as a B Corporation. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
In the UK, Fairphone is continuing to partner with the Phone Co-op, the UK’s only customer-owned mobile network, which shares Fairphone’s values of openness and ‘people power’.
Vivian Woodell, chief executive of the Phone Co-op, said: “UK customers looking to combine the ethical credentials of the Fairphone 2 with fair pricing, low call rates and a commitment to building a different kind of economy based on human values and environmental sustainability will find the perfect fit at The Phone Co-op.
“We’re the only mobile network owned by our customers, giving them real influence over the way we operate and ensuring that profits are reinvested in projects that make a real difference to the world around us.”
In the UK, customers can pre-order the Fairphone 2 from the Phone Co-op for £395 outright, or as part of a bundle with minutes, texts and data starting at £25 per month. Delivery of the device is expected to start from November.
Mr van Abel added: “Almost 14,000 Fairphone 2 buyers have already voted with their wallets for a fairer, more sustainable economy and with the phone starting delivery in the next month and becoming more widely available through partners like the Phone Co-op, we believe the movement will grow.”
In this article
- B Corps
- B Lab
- Bas van Abel
- cellular telephone
- chief executive
- consumer electronics
- customer-owned mobile network
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- electronics industry
- fairer electronics
- mobile network
- Mobile phone
- mobile phone manufacturer
- The Phone Co-op
- Vivian Woodell
- United Kingdom
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