Fairphone launches third-generation modular phone to show there is a real sustainable smartphone alternative
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Published: 4 September 2019
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
Dutch social enterprise Fairphone has announced the launch of its latest smartphone: the Fairphone 3.
The new, improved modular phone builds on the company’s previous achievements to deliver a sleek device that closes the gap between performance and sustainability.
From electronic waste and massive CO2 emissions to harsh working conditions and devastating sourcing practices, the smartphone industry is a huge contributor to some of the world’s most serious environmental and human rights problems.
Since 2013, Fairphone has been pioneering new approaches to improve the way these products are made and create scalable models that can be replicated in the rest of the industry.
While working to develop and produce more sustainable phones, Fairphone has made the supply chain more transparent but has also learned valuable lessons about the systemic limitations and challenges related to this sector.
The Fairphone 3 combines Fairphone’s ambitions for a fairer electronics industry with the insights it gained from creating two prior phones to achieve its most advanced modular phone to date.
Fairphone has developed and refined the modular architecture, which is also deployed in its Fairphone 2, to be more reliable and durable. The slimmer design and seven modules support easy repairs and Fairphone’s goals for longer-lasting phones.
Based on Fairphone’s research, keeping the Fairphone 3 longer, while maintaining it, can save 30% of CO2 emissions or more.
With long battery life, a Qualcomm 632 processor, 12MP rear camera and 8MP front camera with software optimisation (which makes it great in low-light conditions), the phone’s technical specifications deliver an excellent user experience for daily use.
Fairphone 3 will be sold with sustainable and reusable packaging and a protective bumper for extra protection and modular earphones as an accessory.
Workers and materials
But the true differentiator is what Fairphone refers to as ‘fair specs’. With every new generation of phone it develops, Fairphone is expanding on existing projects and introducing new initiatives to make its supply chain fairer for all those involved.
Fairphone is collaborating with the final assembly partner Arima to improve employee satisfaction by improving worker representation and participation, health and safety, and by paying a bonus to workers with the aim to bridge the gap between minimum and living wages in the factory.
From a materials perspective, the phone is made with responsibly sourced and conflict-free tin and tungsten, recycled copper and plastics and Fairtrade gold.
Fairphone is also in the process of setting up an initiative for better sourcing of cobalt, the key mineral for the energy transition.
To combat e-waste, the phone supports collection programmes in countries like Ghana, and will reward buyers for using Fairphone’s recycle program to return their previous phones.
Fairphone continues its existing initiatives for more sustainable and fairer production of smartphones and has integrated them into the supply chain of Fairphone 3, together with more innovative projects that continue Fairphone’s vision for a fairer electronics industry.
‘We envision an economy where consideration for people and the planet is a natural part of doing business. This is why we are creating scalable and replicable models in our impact areas for the industry and improving our supply chain and products step by step.
‘But we cannot do this alone or overnight. To make lasting change possible, we need to transform the industry. The strongest signal that we can send is that there is a market for more sustainable products, which is why we developed the Fairphone 3 to be a real sustainable alternative on the market.’
The Fairphone 3 is now available for pre-sale for a suggested retail price of €450 (pricing may differ across countries due to different taxes and levies) on Fairphone’s website and with launch partners SkyMobile and the Phone Coop. The device will be available in the first week of September.