Originally published at: https://www.fairphone.com/en/2018/11/30/five-years-and-we-are-here-to-stay/
Five years ago, we founded a company to change how people think about what they buy and how industry thinks about what they make. And five years later, it brings me such pride to reflect on the journey that has brought us to where we are today, and know that together, we are having a genuine impact.
Fairphone began with a moment of inspired optimism: we could change the electronics industry for the better by becoming a part of it. A smartphone was the perfect vehicle for our mission. Its complex manufacturing process intertwines with so many of the issues we want to address: fair and responsible material sourcing, longer-lasting design, good working conditions, and increased reuse and recycling of e-waste. Actually making the phone was our next step – or, to be more accurate, our next big, bold leap.
Research trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (July 2014)
Forging new paths with our marvelous communityFrom the very beginning, we knew that we could not do this alone. When your goal is to set new standards and reshape an entire industry, you have to accept that it is a long road through unknown country. You’re going to need more than customers walking with you: you’re going to need an entire movement, redrawing the maps and building new paths.
Heldenmarkt fair (Berlin, 2016)Our community members are our greatest ambassadors and the reason we exist at all. They were there for us in 2009, when we started a simple petition to end the use of conflict minerals. They were there for us in 2013, when we started our company and 25,000 of them pledged €325 to buy a phone that didn’t exist, from a team that had never built one. And they were there for us in 2018, when they crowdfunded €2.5 million to take us to the next level.
Thanks to you, we achieved big thingsNo wonder we feel such persistent optimism, even in the face of sometimes overwhelming odds. We are making change! Flicking through our new Impact Report really brings that point home to me.
Read all about how we're creating positive impact in the electronics industry in our brand new impact report.Look at what we have achieved together:
- Thanks to you, we created the first modular – and most repairable – phone on the market.
- Thanks to you, we’ve got the best sustainability ranking in consumer electronics.
- Thanks to you, we’ve set up more responsible supply chains for the conflict minerals tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold.
- Thanks to you, 62 representatives could be fairly elected by factory workers to improve worker satisfaction.
- Thanks to you, we collected 8,546 kg of scrap phones from several countries in Africa to be responsibly recycled.
- Thanks to you, we onboarded 25 sales partners in eleven European countries, making Fairphone available in 226 shops.
- Thanks to you, we are now a movement of 160,000+ people that believe in fair electronics and are already making positive impact across the entire supply chain.
Bright prospects for a fairer futureEven with such an array of accomplishments behind us, we need to look to the future. The fact that the Fairphone 2 is still, essentially, a unique product in the electronics market shows that we have more work to do. But we are proving that there is a demand for ethical electronics, and are gathering more allies and partners every day. We’re here, and we’re here to stay; continuing to exist, to innovate, to professionalize and to grow are also essential components in convincing the industry at large that a fairer phone is worth the extra effort.
Our mission is far from complete, and the road goes ever on. There’s never been another traveler on this road, and it’s up to us to count the miles, remember the bumps and know that this is how change happens: a crazy, impossible thing simply gets done. And in doing so, proves that the people who believe in impossible things aren’t crazy at all; they just choose to see a little further down the road.