Focussed on improving the social and environmental conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Bas van Abel has designed a “fair” phone promoting a lasting systematic change.
The smartphone will be made from conflict-free materials, such as tin and coltan sourced from the DRC, and will be made in a factory where a specially established fund will ensure decent wages are distributed among workers.
Fairphone is a social enterprise. Step-by-step we are creating a seriously cool smartphone; one that is produced by putting people and the environment first.
The step-by-step approach adopted by Van Abel aims to open transparency in the supply chain by making public its bill of materials, its cost breakdown and its first-tier suppliers.
As a designer, it disturbed me that no one in the world truly understands how a mobile phone is made and when you don’t understand how something is made, you can’t change it. With Fairphone I want to offer buyers a choice, while raising the bar for the industry. By buying this phone, you join a movement to change the way things are made, says Van Abel.
Taking the full lifespan of the product into consideration, Fairphone has joined existing e-waste programmes, has a phone sell-back programme and offers spare parts of all crucial components.
Fairphone’s list of subscribers opened in September 2012 and utilises crowdsourcing to establish whether there is a real customer demand for the product before putting the design into production.