My phone is a fair mobile phone.

The interesting infographics entitled comes to my hands, in which TNS, one of the largest and most prestigious market research companies in the world, tells us how 93% of the next mobile buyers would be interested in donating or reselling their old telephone handset and that more than 85% of those who use a mobile phone demand that it is the operating companies that take this issue wherever they can and propose solutions.

Almost 35 million people in the country have a mobile phone terminal, and almost two thirds of those who have it are intelligent, if those who to work you have to touch the screen and a photo appears, you are permanently connected to the world through email, WhatsApp, and other trifles and have half a life in it, with a great dependence therefore on the device and its battery. El PaĆ­s was echoing the situation of the sector just a year ago.

The telephone devices are short-lived, disposable and easy to use. They have a great amount of technology inside them that, because of the programmed obsolescence, is quickly outdated. Apple’s iPhone was born just 7 years ago (it was officially released in June 2007 in the US) and is now in 8 versions/upgrades!

There’s cheap cell phones, white markings, knockoffs. It is said that they are very bad for our health, because of the radiation they emit and even more so when they are now on permanent alert to see if the last “grasp” has entered us or if they have already sent us the photo of the food we are enjoying from the other side of the table. And if they are harmful to health, what can be said about their evils to the environment and the social injustice of producing Coltan in African countries?

After all that has been said so far, I am ashamed to confess that I have released one of these devices this January. I have been waiting for you, however, since June 2013, when I advanced my letter to the wise men of the East and, a little early on, I did take part in a curious crowdfunding campaign that began in Holland. 340 had to be advanced to a foundation which undertook that if it received 15,000 orders it would start producing a special telephone. Since my terminal was losing battery power at times, it would shut down on its own, wouldn’t let me take pictures for lack of memory and half the days I decided I didn’t want to work… was time to think about a change and I decided to sign up.

The Wise Men of the East were a little late this year but seven months after paying for it, on January 10th I opened my new terminal, and it was worth it. It is made in China, as almost all of them are, and coltan is used in its manufacture, as in 99% of technological gadgets. That doesn’t make it special or worth bringing to this blog. So? Why tell this personal story? So my new phone is a FairPhone, the first (and only) fair trade mobile phone made.

The Fairphone is an initiative of a group of people who, seeing that there were no alternatives to their social and environmental demands in the market, decided to come together and look for a valid solution. Come on, a story like that of Triodos Bank, one of Europe’s ethical banks, when it started curiously enough in that country too: since there is no bank that meets our ethical demands, let us believe it’.

In this case, it seems easier. In June they started a crowdfunding campaign in which 15,000 of the world’s citizens paid in advance for our phone so that the company could start operating. That’s one of the first principles of Fair Trade, isn’t it? “Advance payment to suppliers to avoid dependence on external financial conditions.”

The phone in question is made of non-conflicting minerals. Initiatives have been sought in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to ensure that these minerals do not use illegal funds from the arms trade and that by focusing on small producers in a single region, they increase small-scale employment and contribute to economic development and regional stability. The miners are paid around twice the average wage customary in the area and are guaranteed decent working conditions.

This “extra” money also allows for the creation of local businesses and development initiatives in the area. The assembly line in China also takes care of working conditions and living wages. In addition, there has been a foundation called “Closing the Circle”, which has advised on the recyclability and reuse of materials and the extension of their useful life. Minimization of the packaging, rechargeable batteries, universal charger that does not come with the device because the fair phone ones suppose, with good sense, that at home you already have many of them.


Chelsea R. Mansfield

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