Open The Supply Chain With Fairphone

Open The Supply Chain With Fairphone

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: Conflict Minerals

CONTENT: Article

If you own a smartphone, chances are that you are walking around with conflict minerals in your pocket.  These mobile devices contain four conflict minerals; tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, and their minings fuels violence, slavery and rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Fighting to stop this injustice, a new smart phone company, Fairphone, is using conflict-free certified tin and tantalum from the Congo and is striving to source conflict-free gold and tungsten. Fairphone also promotes the working condition standards that are presented in the International Labor Organization conventions.

One of the companies strategies is to promote sustainability by making a smartphone that is easy to repair, thus maximizing its lifespan. When a Fairphone is damaged, users will have the option to ship it to the company for repair or order a repair kit and fix it themselves.  This will combat against the common practice of ordering a new phone as soon as it is damaged, creating unnecessary waste.

Fairphone’s main goal is to open up the visibility of their supply chain to show that a good product can be made ethically.  This is exemplified by the openness of the company as to what the phone is made of and what the factory conditions are where the phone is assembled. The visibility of the company is a proactive move, as in the near future european companies may have to follow similar conflict mineral compliance rules as the ones created by the United States Dodd-Frank Act.   

Although Fairphone is not completely conflict free, they have blazed a trail that other smartphone companies need to follow.  The first step for these companies is to come into compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act by tracing their supply chains to source the tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold used in their phones.  It is a tough process, but it is the good start to ending the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

One company that is helping other companies come in to compliance is Source Intelligence.  They deliver supply chain intelligence and supplier performance management solutions that support corporate sustainability, regulatory, compliance and social responsibility initiatives.  A demo of what they can do for your company can be found HERE.