Fairphone is a Dutch organization which has developed a unique 'Ethical smartphone'. It's based on four principles
a. Long Lasting Design - ensuring longer life. Primarily driven by it's modular approach which makes repair and refurbishment much simpler. They also encourage self repairs, rather than sending it across to repair network!
b. Fair Materials : The phone contains 40 different elements, each of which has a trail / history of social, environmental and health related issues. They are focusing on 10 of these elements - tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold, cobalt, copper, gallium, indium, nickel and rare earth metals, each of which have mining related issues. The team is focusing on the aspects of mining from origin and the processes / methods used for recycling. with an objective of making the value chain more socially and environmentally responsible. The first step has been in setting up a transparent supply chain. It's an impressive approach and body of work. You can read more about it here.
3. Working Conditions - This spans both direct employees and indirect employees at their assembly units in China. It's a set of deep studies, conversations and actions, which is an ongoing journey of offering working conditions and environments which are both responsible and much needed.
4. Reuse and Recycling - There are over 1.6 billion unused mobile phones around the world today. They are a rich source of materials and also an environmental hazard. What really sets them apart is their two pronged approach. The first being the assistance and help they provide in extending the life of your mobile. The second is Take Back Programme which they operate, which allows consumers to send their old phones back to them and Fairphone determines the most responsible form and method of recycling / refurbishment.
They are also working with other accessory manufacturers to enhance the recycling efficiencies.
This is perhaps one of the more genuine examples of a committed 'learning' organization towards building sustainable products and organizations!
Image Sources : Fairphone website