Three years after launching its last handset, Fairphone has declared the Fairphone 3, its latest attempt at a sustainable smartphone. The Fairphone 3 attempts to provide on this promise by being easy to repair and by getting constructed out of responsibly-sourced, conflict-free, and recycled materials where possible. Fairphone’s betting on a world full of long-lasting repairable smartphones that would significantly reduce CO2 emissions — a goal shared by iFixit and others in the right-to-repair movement.
Fairphone is a Dutch social enterprise that creates phones which are, in the words of CEO Eva Gouwens, “kinder to people and the Earth.” It aims at creating devices that focus on pushing the mobile industry forward by showing that it’s possible to do better. Gouwens cites the founder of the Body Shop, Anita Roddick, who said: “if you think you’re too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”
Fairphone reveals that its latest handset is easy to repair due to its construction out of seven modules. This is an identical approach to what the corporate used for its previous phone, 2016’s Fairphone 2, which earned it a 10/10 repairability score from iFixit. However, the corporate has struggled to offer long-term repairs for its phones in the past. It had to shut its support for 2013’s Fairphone 1 in 2017 after it could no longer afford to continue producing spare parts.
Fairphone has tried using materials that are extremely ethical for its third handset. The tin and tungsten utilized in its construction are conflict-free, the gold is Fairtrade, and the copper and plastics are recycled. Fairphone is also improving its sourcing of cobalt, an ingredient in lithium-ion batteries often mined under conditions that violate human rights. Buyers will be rewarded by recycling initiatives for recycling their last smartphones when they buy the Fairphone 3 in particular countries, and the corporate is also working to improve health, safety, and pay for the factory workers arranging the smartphones.