All right, so I have seen fair trade clothes as well as fair trade coffee, but a fair trade smartphone? Somehow, that particular idea does take some amount of time to sink in, and it seems that the world’s first fair-trade smartphone has been aptly called the Fairphone. Just what the heck is the Fairphone, and why does it deserve such recognition? Touted to be the most ethically sourced device on the market, the Fairphone smartphone happens to be the product of the company’s campaign for fair wages as well as working conditions for those who happen to earn a living by being part of the supply chain for smartphone manufacturers.
According to product manager Miquel Ballester, “The whole point of the Fairphone social enterprise and the campaign that came before it is to intervene on the ground where the problems have originated. It’s only as a manufacturer that you’re playing by the same rules as the big brands. Then you can have real impact.”
So far, some smartphone manufacturers, Apple and Samsung included, have been pointed out for rumored links to conflict zone sources when it comes to their smartphone supply chains. The Fairphone itself is made from tin and tantlum, where the materials have been extracted from conflict-free mines in South Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Ballester did explain the situation further, touting that the Fairphone is not 100% fair trade, but rather, it is “about creating a business environment that favours ethical treatment from the outset.” Hardware specifications of the Fairphone include a 4.3” display, a dual SIM card slot, and a version of Android. Available this December, the Fairphone will cost you £272 a pop, and so far, nearly 15,000 Fairphones have been pre-ordered.
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