Tech Updates

How Fairphone is building an ethical phone for our immoral world

Most phone companies release several models throughout the year to give users more choice — and sell loads more devices than if they just offered a single one.

Fairphone, a company with a core mission to make sustainable devices, is trying to chart a different path than most phone makers by breaking that cycle.

It’s not a household name when it comes to buying phones. But at its core, the company wants your phone to last longer, and design it in a way that you can easily repair it yourself.

We talked to CEO Eva Gouwens about the challenges of building a sustainable phone, bucking the yearly release trend, and what the ethical electronics industry looks like.

Why it’s important to use your phone for longer

It takes a lot of resources to produce devices; Gouwens says almost 75% of CO2 emissions attributed to devices are generated during the production process. So the longer you stick with a device, the lesser the impact on the environment.

In April, the company released a lifecycle analysis for its Fairphone 4 handset — which was released in 2021 — that illustrates the carbon footprint of making and using the device.