Building a phone to create a fairer economy
Fairphone shows that together we can change the way products are made. Fairphone is a social enterprise working to create a fairer economy and change how things are made. They open up supply chains, solve problems and use transparency to start debate about what’s truly fair. Fairphone started in 2010 as a project of Waag Society, Action Aid and Schrijf-Schrijf to raise awareness about conflict minerals in electronics and the wars that they fuel and fund in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2013, they established their independent social enterprise to design and produce their first smartphone and take the next crucial steps in uncovering the story behind the sourcing, production, distribution and recycling of electronics.
'Buy a phone, start a movement'. The starting point of Fairphone was more ethical products in general. They decided to focus on phones simply because they are ubiquitous – nearly everyone owns or frequently uses one. The Fairphone is a storytelling device that provides a useful metaphor for complex, interconnected supply chains. This symbolic product guides the journey of Fairphone as they open up the processes behind production, one step at a time, and work to put social values first. They want to change the relationship that people have with their products and contribute to an economy based on different values. Fairphone is just one result of that.