Fairphone's environmental footprint only marginally better than Apple

My point is that the combination of words “green electronics” is a contradiction in itself. How is that even defined?

Second point:

Quite the contrary in my opinion. Greenpeace has strengthened the arguments of my Apple-fanboy friends. :wink: Why should I get a Fairphone with all its flaws, when I can get an iPhone that is only worse than Fairphone by a fraction?

Ok, I do acknowledge that Apple does better then the rest in the use of renewable energy and chemicals. I’d like to challenge you, however, to question their reasons for this. Is it because they really care for the nature and the individual people behind their products? Or are they fearing a loss of profits if they don’t adapt a bit to the environmentalist world? In my opinion, Apple’s effort is hypocritical as long as there are still reports like this one (Chinese students claim they worked illegal overtime making the iPhone X, 21st November 2017) or this one (Apple Supplier Workers Describe Noxious Hazards at China Factory, 16th January 2018).

Not good enough.

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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Here is a controversial point: Do we need to care? Apple is a quite normal company whose purpose it is to generate profit. If we as customers can force them to do good for profit, that’s great.

Of course, I prefer a social company like Fairphone to Apple, but it’s not the point of a rating like that of Greenpeace.

I don’t really care that Apple is following right behind Fairphone in the rating. To be honest, I would not even care if Apple was in front of Fairphone.


I do agree with @ben in each and every aspect of his posting!

If I start accepting good behaviour only if there is a moral compass behind it, that complies with my (high?) standards, where would that leave me?
Ain’t it enough, that the world is a better place, even if not everyone has the “right” reasons to keep it that way?

I am quite happy and satisfied, if nobody ever punches me or steals my belongings.
I don’t care if it is done out of fear of punishment by the police or by me or because the ten commandments forbid it or because someone loves me or for whatever reason.
Obviously it’s great to be loved, but to me that’s no condition for enjoying my staying unharmed.

Everyone arguing along that line is just searching for some excuse to stay a “fanboy” (where does that leave the girls e.a. btw.).
First of all it’s true only, when looking at the final results and not at the individual ratings or at reports like the ones you linked. Someone turning a blind eye to those facts might see his argument for Apple strengthened, when in fact it is not.
In my humble opinion such a report is not created for the purpose of looking just at an individual fact or quote and base the judgement of the whole company on it.
That would be a misuse of it.
While it’s correct to say that Apple is doing more with regard to renewable energies, that fact, is quite self explanatory. As they employ whole factories over years, they are thereby having the possibility to influence decisions like the energy used; whereas Fairphone only has the option to choose among the manufacturers willing to work with them based on the mandatory social condition etc.
So, if some of your friends do argue along that line, you have lots of arguments to counter that, by going into the report in detail and comparing the companies on levels not taken into consideration; like social engagement, openness for other software etc.

AND Fairphone still has beaten Apple in the final ranking.
Just tell your friends, that the one who finishes second is nothing but the first looser; and you prefer to stick with the winner (that kind of “argument” might work with Apple addicts. :wink: ).

The simple fact, that a study can be misused by selective quoting is no reason to not do the research or publish the results.
That’s all from me with regard to that discussion.

Who ever said, that Apple is already doing good (or good enough)? If that would be the case, they would have scored an A or A+ in all categories of the report. And even so; the report does not cover all relevant aspects.

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Is it really becoming a better place this way? Do bad people become better by doing good things with the wrong intention?

What counts in my opinion are good intentions. I’ve not seen any [Apple | Samsung | any other big electronics company]'s executive managers express their honest concernment about the social and environmental issues connected to their products. How do they sleep at night? Money and power make them blind. What’s good about profits that are made by exploiting other people?

They don’t really. :wink: I think the main reason for a friend of mine getting an (old?) iPhone was that the FP2 is too hard to get in Austria these days and that it was also too expensive for her. I do think that she is kind of aware of the problems with electronics, but that she also doesn’t find it worthwhile to inform herself in depth and spend as much time on the Fairphone forum as we do. :sweat_smile:

At this point I want to say thank you two, @ben & @BertG for bearing with me and my opinions and discussing them seriously. I also want to thank @paulakreuzer for her call to calm down. I guess the world is also not as doomed as I’ve painted it above. :sunflower:


Is this not the way change works?
Take the law. Be it environmental laws, laws on worker rights or anything else: they make people do good/better things. I would think that’s a good thing and it let us evolve to a better world…
Or even, take the example of Fairphone: they show other brands what’s possible in socially responsible electronics. Imagine consumer pressure on this topic makes Apple promise they will use conflict-free minerals and pay better wages. Is that a bad thing, just because it’s done under pressure? Or would you be happy, because one of the main goals of Fairphone has been achieved?


Why do we need laws in the first place? Because of people with bad intentions. I’m not saying that I do everything right, but I have the intention of doing good.

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Because Anarchy ranges from the very left to the very right on the political spectrum. If you have a anarchistic society with only one type of anarchists that might work - e.g. all work together out of the good of their hearts and on the end of the day they all dance in a barefoot circle around a bonfire - or all people shoot each other and on the end of the day only the strong survive.

But in a society where people have different believes laws are necessary.

As that’s an interesting new question, just my 2cents on that.

  • Many people act out of good intentions. Often even those good intentions create conflict, as not everyone has the same understanding of “good intentions” or is lead by the same priorities.
  • Where do good intentions come from? Are they a natural gift one person has and the other one lacks? Are they social guidelines internalized during the upbringing? Or is it even way more complex and they are a mix from lots of sources.

Anyway; as not every member of a society has the same good intentions or the same understanding of what’s good and what isn’t, law is a way of clarifing what rules/intentions need to be followed for the society to work out. The larger a society becomes, the more need there is for that kind of law, as the conflict resolution between individuals meeting by circumstance and completely unknown to each other does not come as natural as it should in smaller groups like families.
People with bad intentions only add up to that need of regulation by law.
(Btw.: In my opinion there is hardly anyone acting out of good intentions all the time; not knowing the feeling of loathing or revenge.)

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Would that be that smart ? Basically to say “We just don’t care, but …” ???

Yes, this is what Greenpeace aims for - and it is ok; you just habe to keep in mind that there are other aspects and you need to decide about the relative importance.

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@Raph Out of curiosity, are you a vegetarian or vegan? Because animal agriculture is one of the biggest polluters, far outpacing all electronics…

Also I’m more interested in Fairphone due to it’s modularity, and mainly because they–at least–make an attempt to use materials that weren’t mined by children, slaves, or both…

@paulakreuzer Uhhhh, anarchy is a left wing ideology by definition… You can’t have chiefless society and capitalism, it’s an oxymoron. Plus all the “original” anarchists–like Bakunin and Proudhon–were hardcore socialists too. They’d laugh at right wing anarchists.

It’s just austro-fascism re branded when people talk about anarcho-capitalism, at least here in the states, where it’s most prevalent… It’s not anarchism in any way, shape, or form unless there are no chiefs.

It is important to realize the different interests of interest groups.

There’s basically 3 global interest groups:

  1. Nature/environment. Example (more specific): Greenpeace.
  2. People. Example (more global): civil rights movement.
  3. Animals. Example (more global): vegan movement.

And they just do not always align. If you take for example Co2 footprint that is something environmentalists care about (group #1) but for people from group #3, such as vegans, its not their primary interest.

Consider for example the choice of eating chicken versus cows. If you want a meal with chicken meat, one chicken can serve far less human beings than a cow. So net more chicken suffer, so it is better to eat cow, right? Not quite, because cows have a higher Co2 footprint… there is no best choice between the two, it depends on your interests.

People who are interested in Fairphone are divided between group #1 and #2 (and within subgroups as well, e.g. someone who is passionate about privacy may not care about child labor or fair wage or FOSS). Hence the interests of the Fairphone community are partly aligned with Greenpeace, partly not. You always need to put the things from special interest groups in perspective. But many special interest groups are seen as “normal”. For example, when the ECB says something…

As for the general topic: Fairphone is an example of how other companies could do it. Its leading by example. If other companies go from F to D or from D to B or have become A that is progress!

As for Apple, sure they’re a competitor, but an outlier. They’re a higher price and performance segment, and a completely different (closed) ecosystem. If they do really well in the environmental aspect, that’s because they’re barely a competitor more win-win for Fairphone than when a direct competitor (price/performance-wise) does. But either way, in the end, competition is a good thing.


@b-dubz Yes I’m basically vegetarian. I avoid meet as much as possible, especially beef (which is a much bigger source of greenhouse gas emission than chicken, for example). Though I don’t see how that relates to the Fairphone’s moderate track-record in terms of environmental footprint.

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However if you wanna be vegetarian/vegan for animal rights reasons (which aligns with anti authoritarianism but on a speciesism level), then you want to avoid chicken as much as possible while beef is a better alternative (if you only care about that reason).

There are also other ways to care about the environment as veg*n; for example you can avoid cryptocurrencies which use a lot of CPU power :wink: another one is: eat local and seasonal. Right now in Europe that means eating a lot of vegetables from Brassica family.

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Uhhhhhh, that really depends on how the chicken and beef was raised, actually. If I raise pasture chickens, and compare it with high intensity feed lot cows, the chickens will have a far, far smaller footprint.

Also, we actually really underestimate how much co2 cows and bisen create. See, there’s this debunked theory out there that when cows graze that grass sheds an equal amount of rootmass–which is true on golf courses. The issue is, it’s usually not true in nature. In nature, plains grasses can be mowed to the ground, and still retain seven feet of root structure, because there is nothing killing off the fungi in the soil…

I was just curious, a lot of people who are environmentalists have yet to realize one of the worst things they can do is eat meat…

Though, nitrogen based fertilizers are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases on the planet, and you could use them for vegetables or feed crops I 'spose…

Honestly though, I’m interested in fairphone for humanitarian reasons more than anything, and I think that’s a much more important thing to focus on with tech. Focusing on climate change with ag makes the most sense to me, simply because that’s where most of the pollution is coming from…

Uhhhhhh, actually, it’s the total opposite. If you’re worried about animal rights, humanely produced chicken is a far better option than any mammal, as there brains are far, far, far less complex.

Hands down, the two best things you can do for the environment–this includes driving and whatnot–is to go vegan and eat organic. I’m mostly a vegetarian myself, however I do have some pork from my friends hog farm every so often. Organics for the nitrogen based fertilizer reason I mentioned above… Synthetic ones are the bad ones, organics doesn’t use synthetics…

Now, due to this, they can put chickens in horrid conditions that cows would simply get sick and die in, no matter how many antibiotics you gave them, so as far as mass produced food goes what you’re saying is true. Though, in mass produced food, all the animals are treated like crap…


I wouldn’t put the vegan movement as an example for the animal rights movement. The vegan movement is more holistic (and at the same time divided). There are vegans who do it because of the animals, others because of the environment and others because do it for the people (there would be no one starving if we were all vegan).
There are even more reasons, which could be the main reason for some vegans, e.g. health or spirituality.

I for example am vegan for all of those reasons you mentioned with your three points, but mainly number 1.

You’re right, vegans would probably be divided in the question whether it would be better to eat chicken or cow, but then again vegans don’t have to decide that because they don’t eat either. So less CO2 footprint + less suffering + more food for everybody. Win, win, win!


@JeroenH I like your systematic list of global interest groups, though - like @paulakreuzer said - the vegan ~ animal interest group might be inconsistent. Moreover the interest groups are interconnected, IMO, and we indeed need a holistic view.

For example:

  1. Care for the environment = Make sure that in the long term there will still be an environment to live in for people and animals.
  2. Care for people = Make sure people have the “time and luxury” (quoting @ben here) to spend time thinking about the environment and the humane treatment of animals.
  3. Care for animals = Make sure animals don’t fall out of the ecosystem because that would negatively affect people and the environment.

I believe that the good is something inherent to every human being, something that is inscribed somewhere deep inside everyone. The bad comes from outside. People have to take decisions all the time, and when they are faced with a good option and a bad option, the bad option often looks like the option with less resistance. The good option often demands more effort from a person.

Now the problem is that the more often I choose the bad, the harder it gets to choose the good. Many people will even have been raised by their parents/educators in a way that didn’t allow them to experience the good. For example, it’s proven that people, who were raised with family violence, often pass on that violence to their children because they have never learned to do the good. It’s simply easier to beat up your children than educate them to do the right thing.

PS.: The positive news is: When you have really tasted from the good, it will make you long for it. The good is desirable. People, who are doing good things, realise that it’s worth the effort. :heart_eyes:

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I fully agree with this, but:

So “good” is 100% genetic and “bad” is 100% environmental?
I don’t think you’ll support any medical scientist that will support that theory.

With the difference that a new version of the OS gives the Fairphone better prestanda while in the case of Apple makes the iPhone obsolete.