Don't read our 2023 Impact Report. Read this instead

Originally published at: Don't read our 2023 Impact Report. Read this instead. - Fairphone

It’s been ten years since we started revolutionizing the electronics industry. A decade is a long timedepending on how you look at it. At Fairphone, it sped past, often feeling like there were never enough hours in the day. But when reflecting on what we achieved during that time, we’re immensely proud at just how much progress we made. Here’s a snapshot of what we achieved just last year.

Starting out as an ambitious awareness campaign, Fairphone has evolved to become a market leader in fairer electronics, all while keeping peoples’ wellbeing at the core. Here are ten highlights of our impact journey over the last ten years.

  1. We grew from 25000 to 400000+ Fairphoners

Ten years ago, fairer phones seemed impossible. Today, our community has grown from 25,000 early supporters to a community of more than 400,000. Together, we’re proving that there is a demand for tech that is designed to last longer. We’re proving that change is in our hands.

  1. We made more than a 100,000 lives better

Because of the way Fairphone does things, we have managed to impact a total of 105,877 people, directly and indirectly. Be it our approach to sourcing raw materials, our worker programs or living wage payments with our suppliers, our people-first approach is paying off for the people behind the screens. The number keeps growing every year. Just last year, 72,028 people benefitted from our activities, 22,000 of them for the first time.

  1. We paid out close to a million dollars in living wage bonuses

Talking about our efforts paying off, since 2019, we have paid out $950,000 as living wage bonuses to about 6,200 factory workers at suppliers and sub-suppliers. A living wage affords someone a decent standard of living, so that they can pay for rent, food, clothing and other necessities, and make some savings for difficult times, all without having to work inhumane long hours. Learn more about living wages here.

  1. We continuously expanded our ‘focus’ on fair materials

We have been constantly reviewing and increasing the number of focus materials that we aim to source fairly for our products, that is to say, materials with the highest social and environmental impact in electronics supply chains. We started with 10 materials, went up to 14 for the Fairphone 5, and are now looking at 23 by 2030. With the Fairphone 5, 70% of the focus materials are considered from fair sources, making it our fairest phone yet.

The Fairphone 5 contains more than 70% fair or recycled focus materials. It’s our most sustainable phone yet.

  1. We collected 55.5 tons of electronic waste since 2014

When we launched the Fairphone 4, it was the first e-waste neutral smartphone in the world. Today, we can proudly claim that both the Fairphone 4 and Fairphone 5, as well as our Fairbuds and Fairbuds XL, are electronic waste neutral. That means for every one of these Fairphone products that we sell, we responsibly collect and recycle an equivalent weight of electronic waste. Since 2014, we have collected 55.5 tons of electronic waste, with over 39 tons collected in the last three years alone. That’s a whale-sized achievement.

  1. We went beyond “carbon-neutral”.

We don’t just want to offset our emissions. We want to reduce them as much as possible. That’s why we publicly committed to go for net-zero by 2045, reducing our emissions by 90% in the next 20 years. There’s a reason why we say our products are climate conscious and not carbon-neutral. In 2023 alone, this resulted in avoiding 944 tons of CO2 emissions.

  1. We redefined what device longevity means.

It’s not just what companies do to make a phone that matters. It’s what they do after they sell a phone. We raised the bar for everyone by extending our warranty period from two to five years for the Fairphone 5, and upping our after-sales software and hardware support window to an industry-leading eight years. It is heartening to see more and more tech brands seeing the value of device longevity, offering longer support windows themselves. We sincerely hope that they will top us in the near future.

With the new Fairbuds, we introduced the world’s most repairable set of earbuds, designed to last for years to come.

  1. We’re making the right to repair a legally mandated right.

Inspired by our founder, Bas van Abel’s frustration with an unfixable Nintendo, Fairphone championed repairability. Our products are known for their award-winning modular design. For those of you who don’t want to repair it yourself, we put out schematics of our phones, so any repair shop in the world can help you. We didn’t stop there. We became members of government panels and advised the appropriate authorities on why repairability is the need of the hour. Now, it’s a global conversation, influencing law-making bodies in France and the EU, and even industry giants like Apple.

  1. We helped others in the industry to do better

From initiating partnerships for better material sourcing practices and better working conditions at artisanal mines, Fairphone has always been about making change at a macro level. Since we started measuring our industry influence quantitatively in 2017, we have had 24 other industry players join or replicate Fairphone’s solutions. Some have signed up to be a part of the Fair Cobalt Alliance, founded in 2020 to improve artisanal and small-scale cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Others have joined Project Access, looking to improve conditions for artisanal gold miners in Kenya and Uganda. We also know of sustainability officers using our impact reports to push for change, and general managers reimagining their companies’ values. Every action counts, and we couldn’t be happier that our work is inspiring that action.

  1. We showed that electronics companies can be part of the solution

We started out as a conflict mineral awareness campaign, then metamorphosed into a smartphone manufacturer ourselves. Over the years, we started looking beyond smartphones and started experimenting with fairer audio. Today, we have two premium audio devices on the market, the Fairbuds and the Fairbuds XL, noted for their sustainable design and superior sound. Meanwhile, with the Fairphone 5, we rethought our approach to smartphone batteries and designed our fairest battery yet.

Last year, for a third time in a row, we achieved all the impact targets (or KPIs) we had set for ourselves. For those of you want the details, you can read the full Impact Report here. 2024 began with us winning awards at a national and international level, from the Koning Willem I Prize to a GLOMO at MWC ‘24. Our tribe continues to grow, and our plans for the future are already locked and loaded. Join us in this journey. Discover how every Fairphone product you buy, every person you inspire, and every life you touch, helps us rewrite the rules. Discover fair.

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Should I worry about the financial health of the company, considering they’ve made a loss of ~20 million euros? They did raise 16 million, but that’s still a 4 million loss after the investments from third parties.

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Not necessarily. Tech startups always go through a surprisingly long phase of cash burn, where they accumulate huge losses while making little to no profit. Facebook/Twitter are fairly prominent examples…

On the other hand “Don’t read our 2023 Impact Report. Read this instead” sounds way too much like an attempt to divert the spectators’ attention… :roll_eyes:
The “everything is going according to plan” version of the title would had been something along the lines of “Check the 10 things we’re most proud of in 2023!” or so.
But then again Fairphone has never been particularly good at communicating… :man_shrugging:

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