information for transformational people

Phones 246The hidden impact of the smartphone industry 

From a video by Fairphone

20 years ago we couldn't imagine the existence of a smartphone and now we can't live without one but our constant demand for newer and better phones has a huge impact on the environment.

There is a huge hidden impact of the smartphone industry and how Fairphone is acting to change that.

Some facts:

  • More people have access to a smartphone than a working toilet.
  • The number of mobile devices exceeds the human population, reaching more than eight billion.
  • The average lifetime of these smartphones is about two to three years and only 20% of smartphones get recycled.
  • E-waste is the world's fastest growing waste stream.
  • Smartphones contain dozens of different materials such as gold silver and copper which come from mines which could have dangerous working conditions, child labour, poor wages and pollution.
  • Some of the minerals you'll find inside smartphones such as tin tungsten and tantalum are even classified as conflict minerals and buying those materials is directly financing those conflicts.
  • Every year consumers throw away millions of mobile phones containing gold, cobalt, tin and dozens of other resources that have years, decades or even centuries of life left in them. 
  • Smartphones are designed for use but not for reuse or recycling - that's why it's hard to open them, repair them or remove broken parts.
  • This all centres on earning more financial profit and that creates an endless cycle of demand and consumption.

Fairphone's goal is that customers should keep a smartphone as long as possible, repairing modules if needed or even upgrading some modules. Most of the parts can eventually be recycled, reused or upgraded in an infinite closed loop. This is because Fairphone thinks in terms of resources rather than waste.

Fairphone also collaborates with their supplier who assembles their phones to pay a living wage and bonus, increase worker representation and health and safety, They use responsibly sourced and conflict-free tin and tungsten, recycled copper and plastics, fair trade gold and cobalt. 

Watch this 4 minute video:

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From a video by Fairphone, 05/10/2021

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