6 August, 2021
The featured product this week is, for better or worse, probably an integral part of your life.
There are over 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide, with Apple and Samsung dominating the global market. They keep us connected, informed, productive and entertained, and are relatively energy efficient to operate.
However, phones are incredibly resource intensive to produce. One mobile phone requires 74kg of raw materials alone, including 7kg of gold ore, 1kg of copper ore, 750g tungsten ore and 200g nickel ore – no surprise that the “eco Olympics” chose to recover metals for use in medals. Metal mining generates enormous amounts of waste, which can spill and contaminate precious ecosystems and surrounding villages. Gold mining is also a major cause of deforestation in the Amazon and Indonesian rainforest, and generates toxic cyanide and mercury that can contaminate human drinking water and fish. And tin, gold and tungsten are often sourced from areas suffering from political instability, or where governance of mining sectors is weak, resulting in violence, conflict and human rights abuses.
So we’re proud to feature this week’s Goods: the Fairphone. A phone designed to build a fairer world. The phone itself has a modular design, meaning that it can be easily repaired or upgraded for a longer life. Many materials that go into the phone are recycled already, and recyclable again, meaning fewer raw materials need to be extracted. When they do, Fairphone invest in artisanal and small-scale mining directly at the source. And what’s more, they’re engaging directly with factory workers to improve their working conditions.
The Fairphone may not be the sleekest, most high-tech option on the market. But we love the multi-dimensional integration of sustainability into its design. And as a fellow B-Corp, it really is putting change in your hands.
By Jennie Mitchell