What's the Latest Development?

Later this year customers in parts of Europe will be able to spend €300 on a FairPhone, which may be the first-ever cell phone with every possible safeguard included. The phone will include conflict-free minerals and be built in a factory that meets standards set by a labor advocacy group. Once purchased, its owner can easily open it up to change or add components, and when she's ready to get rid of it, the phone and its parts can be recycled or repurposed. Company founder Bas van Abel says it won't be the sexiest Android phone out there, but "it's better than good enough."

What's the Big Idea?

Phone manufacturers' supply chains have long been problematic, with materials and labor obtained through questionable and controversial means. Van Abel says the FairPhone is a way to illuminate the connections between consumers and production systems. "My whole goal with this project to create a different relationship...If [the phone is a success] we can invest into new interventions in the supply chain, so it can become more and more fair."

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