Will Fairphone ever make a vegan phone?

Hi guys,

I understand it would be so hard to create a vegan phone but I don’t think there is one on the market so all that time and effort would mean Fairphone could be the first ever vegan phone and for some time have 100% of the vegan phone market.
Is there any future plans of making the fairphone vegan? And if there is when would that be?
I love the idea of Fairphone and think the company is doing great things by the way.

Peace, love and kind regards,

Joe

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Unfortunately I believe this post by @Douwe still very much explains how things are and how they will remain for a long time:

Be aware that Fairphone is very clear that they are not producing 100% fair phones yet. Their main goal is to stop the exploitation of the planet and humans along their supply chain and once they achieved that goal they could start doing the same for other animals.

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Define vegan.

There’s no consensus on that from the vegan community.

There is always something you can find which isn’t vegan. Such as car tires or fuel, or the airplane used to transport FP parts, or the food an assembly worker ate, or the paper money which you received as change when you bought a vegan product from a vegan store.

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I agree. I struggle to see how this is relevant though. I am carrying around an item that is not vegan while trying to be as vegan as possile and wanted to know if Fairphone could help but they won’t.

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It is relevant insofar, as the definition decides what FP has to do to be considered a vegan phone.
Will it be enough, if there is no more part of the phone, that have animal sources (so to speak).
Or is it neccessary that all parts of the supply chain (like transportation) are vegan as well?
If the latter would be your goal, FP - in my opinion - needn’t consider producing a vegan phone for years to come, while it might be possible to achieve the goal of using vegan glue etc.

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Simplified put, Fairphone works to improve the supply chain material by material. They started with the widely agreed four most important “conflict materials”. Once that challenge was essentially tackled (including a joint effort for the first-ever fairtrade certified gold supply chain), Fairphone systematically identified the next 10 materials they want to focus on. The process of narrowing down the list to the next 10 is described here:

Basically, Fairphone looks at a) where change is most needed, but also at b) where the biggest change (impact) can actually be achieved with Fairphone’s limited means and weight.

As you probably know, Fairphone is a tiny company and thus has very little weight when it comes to negotiating with their suppliers. Nevertheless, progress has been achieved and I think more progress will be achieved (see above), but it will take more time than we all wished it would. Fairphone only just released an updated list of suppliers (the listing alone fills 16 pages) which you can find in this article.

Now what I would recommend to you would be to contact Fairphone via email and let the Supply Chain team know you want Vegan criteria to be considered when identifying the next batch of materials that Fairphone wants to improve on in the supply chain.

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Why is it important to define what vegan is? To set up realistic expectations.
Why is it not important? Improving things by any definition of the word is good.
How would I define vegan?

  • just not containing animal products (like the glue) is not vegan by my and afaik by any definition.
  • everything and everybody that takes part in the supply chain has to be 100% vegan is too unrealistic. Afaik “kosher” goes into that direction (e.g. food is kosher if the ingredients, the kitchen and the cook are kosher. But ultimately something 100% vegan by this definition could only exist on a planet where no animals live (Plantplanet yay! :leaves:).
    Actually I believe this definition is not only too unrealistic, but also goes too far. I believe a lot more people will have to be vegan in the future and the rest will have to reduce their consumption of animal products, but I don’t think non-vegans are bad or that they all need to be convinced. If a chef who eats meat makes a tremendous vegan burger I’ll gladly eat it.
  • the legal definition for vegan depends on the country, but usually means: no animal products, no animal testing, no animal breeding (e.g. for pack animals) and no direct or indirect harm done to animals (e.g. if you have to redirect a river to your mine or plant and cause a drought elsewhere then your products are definitely not vegan).
  • then there are seals that go further than e.g. the EU vegan seal. This is the kind of vegan that I trust, because by getting such a seal the company proofs that they are not just “vegan” to be able to write that on their products so people will buy them, but because it’s important to them.

I think having a Fairphone instead of another smartphone does help be as vegan as possible. You’re doing less harm to the planet (and therefore the animals who live on it) and less harm to the people who help create it (and humans are animals too).

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I don’t have a lot of time right now so excuse my brevity.

Veganism is a crazy thing to min-max, something I learned people with autism are very good at (and enjoy). For me, animal testing is something completely different than eating chicken. I cannot even compare it. Animal testing might be cruel, but the amount of animals who suffer is vastly, vastly, vastly more with chicken. In that sense someone who is not vegan but minimises the amount of chicken they eat is doing a good poke and the effort required vs effect is very high (if your goal is reduce animal suffering; which is a goal which makes sense). And the potential to have people follow that instead of vegan (or even vegetarian) is much higher. So if you want to maximise effect, that’s a more sensible goal than min-maxing veganism on an individual layer (which is mostly a “feel good” thing anyway).

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I think Fairphone are an intelligent enough producer to understand the label “vegan”. I would imagine if they do manage to make it cruelty-free, across the board, and therefore more sustainable, then they would want to use the vegan log. The vegan society doesn’t have an issue about the definition, just as vegans don’t. A vegan phone or any device, could be called vegan, if it contains no parts or processes that exploit animals. Clearly there may be dark areas somewhere in the supply chain, but in the context of the original question, I think everyone else understands what is asked.

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I understand your final comment and it is sensible, however the question was so simple and either a product can be described as vegan or it can’t. Some of us look to minimise our carbon footprint through the non-exploitation of animals and will not support those that do raise, enslave, sexually interfere with, torture and slaughter, other sentient beings for no greater reason than selfish satisfaction of our tastebuds. The unintelligent comment that such an ethical and moral stand is just a “feel good” thing, just illustrates the lack of understanding, respect and justice , even ethical phone users can hide. Back off soapbox… As I prefer to use products and services that contribute the least to this planet’s destruction, then the vegan label would be very helpful. I live in the “real world” like most folk and am aware that supply chains can be very vague things, so lot of commitment to the philosophy of “fair” is involved. It is great that someone has raised the question and as we would all benefit from such a move, we can welcome it wholeheartedly. :slight_smile:

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Do you really consider this a question of intelligence?
As I understand it, there are standards e.g. for cosmetics, food and other products that have to be kept before applying the label “vegan”. Take wine as an example. While there is no animal product in the wine you buy and drink, something like gelatine or other animal products can be used to clear the wine.
With a product as complex as a phone, this kind of standard seems hard to come up to like guarenteeing that everyone contributing anything to the phone is being treated fair (e.g. minimum wage etc.).
Just one example:
There is a SoC in the phone, that in itself consists of plastics and metal and other materials.
Therefore it’s not enough to take a look at the supplier of the SoC but you have to take a look at all his suppliers and their suppliers as well for fair treatment of the workers.

And while I am vegetarian only, having a somewhat less strict standard, I really would not label a phone “vegan”, if some parts contain animal products or just use animal products in production. Doing so would of course (and in my opinion rightfully) result in heavy critzism.

No discussion here, that I would love to see a vegan phone happening or just a phone, that is taking cruelty to animals into consideration. It’s just the lable “vegan” I would be careful with.

Edit:
“The vegan society”, as you know it, might not have an issue with the definition. Even if that’s true for the whole vegan society, this will change, when it comes to business. There will for sure be competitors (non vegan) challenging (legally) any claim they perceive as an advantage in advertising.

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