This is an edited version of a case study that appeared in Ethical Corporation’s Circular Economy report last year
Fairphone, a Netherlands-based social enterprise, designs and produces smartphones with a dual mission: to offer a more ethical alternative to the conventional manufacturing and consumption of phones and to help leverage a fairer economy across other spheres, by example and collaboration.
The product is robust, durable, easily repairable by the user and easily recyclable if it is beyond repair. Its components and manufacture are as fully traceable as possible.
Fairphone sees its smartphone as a communication tool in more than just the obvious way: it is a vehicle for engaging stakeholders to spread a message of responsibility on the part of both producers and users, across four areas: mining, design, manufacturing and lifecycle. And Fairphone is tackling each area continuously with innovation and ongoing assessments. By pioneering and experimenting, Fairphone aims to catalyse viable alternatives to traditional business models.
“We are using a commercial model, which is the design and sale of smartphones, to create a social and environmental impact through the lifecycle of the product,” says Bibi Bleekemolen, impact and innovation officer at Fairphone. “We want to encourage and support a different kind of supply and demand, so there is a strong awareness-raising and campaigning...