An awful lot goes into making a phone. An awful lot of people, living in awful servitude – close to slavery conditions – as they’re paid their $3 a day for their 12 hour shift making phones that they couldn’t afford in a lifetime of saving. An awful lot of conflict, greed and corruption go into sourcing the precious metals and minerals that are required to manufacture a phone. An awful lot of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) is generated by the churn of mobile phones.
We only buy eggs made from free range chickens these days right? So why don’t we insist on buying phones made by free range humans? The kind of people who make a typical phone, often live in a life where they’re unable to ever repay their debts, where they only ever make enough to scrape through, just above the survival line. We’ve heard a lot about the sweat shops of the clothing industry recently – but perhaps not as much about the high tech equivalents.. but they do exist. It’s highly possible that some of the components on the very device you’re reading this very article on, have been made by someone who’s practically, a slave.
Amsterdam based company FairPhone have thought about this and have made as a phone with a difference. They’ve structured their whole product around an ethical framework that really considers the people who make them – even when it takes getting right down to the grass roots of manufacturing and beyond – into ensuring the raw materials are mined from conflict free environments. Their story is so refreshing to read.
The good news is that their first batch of 25,000 sold out a few days ago, and they’re brokering interest into making a second batch. A sensible price point for the spec as well – just $325 for a very respectable spec list for a phone. They’re getting a lot of interest in the tech spotlight – a lot of people are picking up on them. Hopefully, the big boys of the electronic manufacturing world will sit up and take note.