With the rest of the mobile phone industry beginning to look into supply chain ethics, Fairphone has launched their second handset as the first fully modular smartphone to try and stay one step ahead
The new phone is the only fully modular handset on the market, with the main parts easily replaceable for users, and reinforced for sustainability.
The original Fairphone, launched in 2013 by the Dutch social enterprise of the same name, stood out in the smartphone market for containing tin and tantalum from certified conflict-free mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“For the second version, we have worked hard to also ensure that we source conflict-free gold and tungsten, but cannot yet claim that those will be integrated in the first shipments as we still need to overcome a few last challenges,” said Daria Koreniushkina, public engagement officer for Fairphone.
“Smartphones generally contain around 40 different minerals and these four are the main ones associated with being mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses,” she added.
Apple and Samsung have also stepped away from conflict tantalum and are working on the other minerals, according to their websites.
At the phone’s launch, Bas van Abel, founder of the company, told Positive News the ultimate aim was to use fully recycled parts and not involve mining at all.
Technology journalists at the event were impressed with the phone’s high end specifications, in contrast to the previous version which was criticised for not being able to compete on performance with models half its price.
More than 15,000 people around Europe have pre-ordered the phone, with 722 of those in the UK ordering via Fairphone or The Phone Cooperative.
Listen to the full interview with Fairphone founder Bas van Abel at London Design Festival.