Fairphone 2 and the environment
We have done research on the environmental impact of the Fairphone 2. For the total impact, please read the extensive information available on the blog:
- Fairphone 1 Lifecycle assessment (LCA) (2013)
- Inventory analysis (2014)
- Environmental impact (2015)
- Fairphone 2 Lifecycle assessment (LCA) (2016)
- Recycling the Fairphone (2017)
- Scoping study - Material profiles [.PDF] (2017)
This article mentions the most popular specific topics.
We designed the software running on the Fairphone 2 to optimize energy use. However, the energy consumption of your smartphone depends on the way you use it. The piece of hardware that uses the most energy is the back-lit LED screen. Apps also account for a significant amount of energy use and some are more efficient than others.
A single battery charge will last:
- Standby (idle): up to 240 hours
- Calling on LTE (4G) (screen off): 16 hours
- Video streaming on LTE (4G): up to 4 hours
To keep products working for as long as possible, they need the right support ecosystem.
For the Fairphone 1 that means:
For the Fairphone 2 we added:
- a very unique modular architecture. This allows customers and repair shops to repair the phone in a matter of seconds. Reducing time and costs of repair increase the chance a Fairphone owner chooses repair over total replacement. This enhances the longevity of the device
- update to Android 6
- upgrade for the camera module
In our warranty we commit to at least two years availability of spare parts from the moment the device arrives at its owner. We are striving to offer spare parts for up to five years. Read more about the challenges in our blog on scaling up.
Not all the plastic parts in your Fairphone 2 are marked to identify the material. This is something we will improve in new production cycles.
The rundown of the plastics we use:
- 50% post-consumer recycled polycarbonate - the best option available:
- the opaque back covers
- the rims of the slim back covers
- the plastic used on the modules
- the plastic used on the back of the screen
- regular polycarbonate - which has no alternative for transparent plastic that meets our quality needs:
- the transparent and translucent back covers
- thermo polyurethane:
- the flexible rim of the regular back covers
Packaging and logistics
Packaging and logistics of the Fairphone 2 amount to 5% of the total environmental impact in the product lifecycle.
Learning from our experiences in developing and shipping the Fairphone 1, we improved logistics. For Fairphone 2 we focused on increasing in efficiency and environmental friendliness:
- Reduce the volume of shipments from Asia to Europe by 49%. Our innovative packaging approach has been key to this improvement.
- We ship phones in bulk from the factory to our logistics center in the Netherlands
- The design of the packaging unifies product box and shipping box. The result is a much smaller box we can send to our customers
- Introduce innovative, eco-friendly materials. We chose Paperfoam as our packaging material. It is:
- back to basics
- reflects our values
- looks cool
- improves our environmental performance:
- uses much less energy in production than regular cardboard or paper pulp
There are many hazardous substances used in the production of an electronic product. Unfortunately some are irreplaceable or only have more hazardous alternatives.
Thanks to the EU there are several laws that ban the existence of toxic substances in the final goods. They do allow the use of these substances in the production processes. What can make it problematic is the possible lack of adequate worker training or protective equipment when handling the chemicals, is what can make it problematic.
So producers should apply best practices when using hazardous substances. This includes performing risk assessments for the health and safety of workers and the environment:
- gathering information about the hazardous substances from reliable sources. Such as supplier safety data
- ranking their risk
- taking measures to provide protective equipment and proper environments
- having adequate management plans in place in case of accidents
- proof of adequate regular staff training.
We have a standard due diligence procedure which complies with the European Law. For the production of the Fairphone 1 and 2, we have:
- consulted partners and reviewed documentation, materials and practices used in the assembly of the phone
- collected as many full material declarations as possible from the companies that deliver our components.
- A smartphone can contain hundreds of components, produced by companies all over the world. Individual components can contain over one hundred substances
- A material can be raw, like copper or can be a complex chemical compound. As of May 2016, we have compiled full material declarations for 70% of the components present in the phone
This way we achieve full transparency with the suppliers. This helps us to:
- protect the consumer and the environment
- increase our knowledge on the product and production process
- identify improvements on process and materials
We have a detailed support article on hazardous materials if you want to read on.