Around 94%1 of UK adults own a mobile phone and Brits are now checking their smartphone every 12 minutes2. Needless to say, phones have become a vital part of our daily lives. Not only do they let us communicate with our loved ones, they also help us manage our finances and plan trips. But whilst smartphones are making our lives easier, they’re also damaging the environment. The manufacturing process is mainly to blame. Most mobile phones are made from precious metals extracted from the earth and mining these materials can often result in creating enormous volumes of waste. But that’s not all! Our consumerist attitude is also part of the issue. By releasing new phones every year, phone manufacturers encourage us to upgrade as often as possible. It might seem harmless, but by replacing our existing phones with their newest versions, we’re just making the situation worse, as e-waste is piling up at a dramatic pace. The future is not all bleak though. Some mobile manufacturers are committed to changing the industry by making phones that are more ethical. This is the commitment Fairphone has made which underpins their mission.
Description: Mobile phone manufacturer
HQ Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Smartphones that last longer
On average, smartphones have a lifespan of about 2 years, urging most people to upgrade. Fairphone designs phones that can last longer, and makes repair as easy as possible, to help reduce e-waste. If your phone breaks, for example, they’ll replace what’s damaged, not the whole phone. That way, you can keep your smartphone longer and reduce your carbon footprint – a win-win situation!
Sustainable phones made from fairer materials
Making phones can be very unsustainable, and that’s why Fairphone goes straight to the source to ensure sustainable materials are being used in the manufacturing process. The company uses metals that are responsibly mined and is committed to using an increasing amount of recycled materials. For instance, instead of using gold mined from areas of conflict and allowing the financing of rebel groups, Fairphone sources Fairtrade certified gold that is not sourced in conflict regions.
Promoting good working conditions
Most smartphones are manufactured in China where working conditions tend to be overlooked. With this in mind, Fairphone focuses on improving job satisfaction in its manufacturing sites. The company is developing several programs to help enhance working conditions, from health and safety through to working hours. Also, Fairphone has recently joined the Clean Electronics Production Network and committed, through this initiative, to move towards zero exposure of workers to toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process.
At Wealthify, we’re also doing our bit for the future with our Ethical Investment Plans and Ethical Stocks and Shares ISAs. With our Ethical Plans, your money is typically invested in companies committed to having a positive impact on the environment and society. Our Ethical Investment Plans also aim to exclude activities considered harmful to the environment and society, such as tobacco, gambling, weapons, and adult entertainment. We also use funds that exclude a larger range of activities like deforestation and animal testing. Here’s more on what investments our Ethical Plans contain and exclude.
Companies that do good are more common than you might think! Check out our blog about Odylique’s ethics.
If you want to learn more about Fairphone, head here: https://www.fairphone.com
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