Fairphone: a kinder way to call

A smartphone with a conscience, designed to change the relationship between people and their phones.

Product Name
Fairphone 2
Bas van Abel
Year Made
-Recycled plastic
-Recycled copper
-Recycled tungsten

Fairphone describes its product as the first ethical smartphone. The company, founded in 2013, aims to make social and environmental improvements in the electronics industry by creating and producing their own phone. By using responsibly sourced materials and letting everybody see what goes into their design process, Fairphone’s intention is to give us a better understanding of where products come from and how they are made.

Photos: Fairphone

What do you see?
What is it made of?
How is it made?
What is its life cycle?
What is its impact?

Designed to last longer

Although it looks similar to many other smartphones, the Fairphone is designed to last for five years. That's longer than most; Apple expects owners of the iPhone to replace it after just three years.

Strong back cover

The back cover has built in protection. This means there's no need for an extra case.



Tungsten is a rare metal used in the vibration motor. This is the part that makes your phone buzz when you get a call or a message.


Gold is a precious metal used to conduct electricity inside the phone. Silver and copper are actually better conductors but gold is less easily damaged, making it more reliable.


Modular design

This is the camera module. The Fairphone is made up of removable parts (or modules) that are each separately created but connect together to make up the complete system of the phone. This is known as modular design. If the phone breaks only the broken module needs to be replaced, not the entire phone.

Easy to fix

The owner of a Fairphone can fix it themselves. You don’t need special technical skills - all you need is a screwdriver to remove the screws and replace the broken part.


Safe e-waste

Fairphones are designed to last as long as possible but mobile phones produce tons of electronic waste (e-waste) every year. Unfortunately, a lot of this waste ends up in developing countries that don’t have safe recycling processes. This has a terrible effect on people’s health and the environment. Fairphone is collecting phones that have been thrown away in Ghana and shipping them to Belgium where they can be recycled safely.

Recycled metals

The company is working towards using metals taken from old phones in future Fairphone models.


Conflict free minerals

Minerals needed to make phones (like gold and tungsten) are found naturally in the African Great Lakes region. Many of the profits from mines in this area fund wars and conflict. Fairphone is increasing awareness about this issue and makes sure its minerals come from mines that are approved as ethical and conflict free.

Discover your phone’s story

Fairphone have developed an Urban Mining Manual that encourages people to lead workshops to learn more about how their phone is made and the social impact of mining and e-waste. Their goal is to get people talking about fairness in the electronics industry.

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