the latest report by BBC on Apple’s business once again – after Friends of the Earth campagined on it successfully for quite a while – featured Bangka, Indonesia, as one of the world’s most important tin mining areas with doubtful working conditions. While the tin in Fairphone’s solder paste comes conflict-free from D.R.Congo as we all know (that’s great!), the origin of the remaining tin is unknown to me and the community as well, I guess. My question to the team is:
- Does the Fairphone contain tin from Bangka?
If unknown, I guess it could be the case since Indonesia is a big supplier of tin for the electronics industry. Apple, Samsung and others already admitted that their products most probably contain tin from Bangka. They joined the IDH Tin Program. My second question is:
- Is Fairphone member of the IDH Tin Working Group?
In case you don’t know it yet, this is a community led forum andy you cannot expect an official answer. However, I’m gonna summon @Marco and @anon90052001 from the FP team, to see if they can provide an answer.
The FP team might not be active on the forum much over the holidays.
Anyway, I think the answer is contained in this post - Fairphone sourced conflict-free tin from the Democratic Republic of Congo (used mainly for the soldering paste to print the circuit boards)
You’re absolutely right, and thanks a lot for your help!
Hi Chris, there’s more tin in a Smartphone than used for the soldering paste. The lists of suppliers mentions soldering thread (that’s soldering wire?), and at least the naked PCBs contains tin, as far as I know.
For the printing of the circuit board and the production of the phone they used conflict free tin from DRC, that’s how I understand it (updated my post to say mainly soldering paste, as that’s what their article says )
I understand the tin from DRC was smelted down and produced into the soldering paste and also the soldering wire - the supplier AIM is involved in the Conflict Free Tin Initiative (CFTI). Unfortunately I don’t think all components in the phone are certified.
Ah, great to see the wire being sourced conflict-free from Congo as well. This covers the sourcing of most but not all tin in the device, I agree. I should have known that.
Printing the PCBs seems to be a completely different part of manufacturing, though. The suppliers are “China Circuit Technology Corporation” and “ZE FPC”. I guess they do not source from Congo. CCTC requires conflict-free material from suppliers, but tin from Indonesia is conflict-free by definition.
Oh I don’t know about that one TBH
It’s correct that not all of the components are made from the CTFI tin.
You can read everything there is to know about Tin in the Fairphone on our “Tin project page” here.
As customer support I am not an expert on the details of the Tin in the Fairphone, so if there are questions remaining I would have to shop around within FP for some answers.
Thanks for the discussion and the information already provided! To add to this, it is indeed the case that not all the tin used in the components of the Fairphone is from the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative. The soldering paste and wires (that contain a high % of tin) are made with CFTI tin. But there are a lot of components in a phone that contain tiny amounts of tin. These we haven’t been able to trace yet or link to the CFTI. It is really a step by step process and we are working to get a better visibility on the origin of the tin used in other components (as well as other minerals) for the next phone. As for the working group, we’re engaged informally (also with some individual members) but not an official member, that’s why we are not listed. Hope this answers your question! All best