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EcoVadis Awards Fairphone for Being Good for the Environment and Labor

Fairphone, the Dutch-based company behind the eponymous branded mobile phone, has announced that it’s received the highest ranking for sustainability that any mobile phone maker has ever received.

Fairphone employee meeting tungsten miners at the New Bugurama Mining Company in Rwanda in 2016.
A Fairphone employee meeting tungsten miners at the New Bugurama Mining Company in Rwanda in 2016. Fairphone, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fairphone, the Amsterdam-based company that makes headphones and mobile telephones using sustainable and eco-friendly practices, announced on Friday that for the third year in a row EcoVadis has awarded the company Platinum status. The rating covers four sustainability areas: environment, labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement.

Paris-based EcoVadis bills itself as the world’s largest provider of ecological-based business sustainability ratings, which include rankings for more than 100,000 companies. Among other things, its ratings are used by businesses and governments to monitor sustainability in global supply chains.

In a statement, Fairphone said that this year the company received the highest score ever for a smartphone manufacturer.

“This is the third consecutive year we have been given a Platinum medal, with an improved score of 88/100, up from 75/100 in 2022,” the company said. “We are the only smartphone manufacturers to score Platinum status for three years in a row. Our score also firmly positions us as the leading company in our industry, and in the top 1% of the 114,000 companies assessed by EcoVadis. This only goes to show that when it comes to sustainable consumer electronics, nobody does it better or fairer than us.”

According to Fairphone, EcoVadis highlighted the phone maker’s endorsement of leading industry initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact, the Science Based Targets initiative, Fair Cobalt Alliance, and the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance. It also recognized additional measures and policies the company has adopted since last year’s assessment.

“The EcoVadis Platinum status is a guarantee for potential customers looking to make the sustainable choice when it comes to their electronics,” the company said. “It underscores our commitment to making products with a focus on people and planet.”

Back of a Fairphone 2 with transparent cover, showing its modular design.
Back of a Fairphone 2 with transparent cover, showing its modular design. Kaihsu Tai, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Since Fairphone was founded in 2013, it has attempted to minimize the ethical and environmental impact of its devices both by using recycled, fairtrade, and conflict-free materials, and by maintaining fair labor conditions throughout its workforce and suppliers. It also makes it easy for users to repair their devices by using a modular design and by providing replacement parts.

In addition to Android, Fairphones are tested to work well with several operating systems, including CalyxOS, DivestOS, e/OS, iodeOS, LineageOS, Ubuntu Touch, and more. Murena, the company behind e Foundation, which develops and maintains e/OS, sells Fairphones with e/OS preinstalled and offers a warranty for them.

“As a social enterprise, we have always taken a holistic approach to sustainability, focusing on device longevity, repairable design, end of life responsibility, and the social impact of our products,” the company added. “In 2019, we became the first electronics company to pay a living wage bonus to factory workers at our direct supplier. In 2023, the program was extended to also include people working at sub-suppliers.”

Fairphone started life as a social enterprise company and became a registered B Corporation in 2015. Earlier this year, a group of impact investors led by new shareholders Invest-NL, the ABN AMRO Sustainable Impact Fund, and existing shareholder Quadia, with its Regenero Impact Fund, invested €49 million in Fairphone.

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