Fairphone 3: Dutch social enterprise release its latest modular smartphone and fairest yet

Dutch social enterprise Fairphone has launched its third generation smartphone, Fairphone 3, designed to support easy repairs and and its goal for long-lasting and sustainable phones.

The Fairphone 3 contains seven modules, including an 8 MP front-facing camera and a 12 MP Dual Pixel rear-facing camera that can be easily switched with repair parts.

The modular design means if the phone requires repairs, you can do-it-yourself with a single screwdriver and replaceable modules. 

The phone comes standard with Gorilla Glass 5 as well as 64 GB that can be expanded to more than 256 GB with a MicroSD card. It also comes with Android 9.

Fairphone has developed and refined the modular architecture to be more reliable and durable in a sleeker and slimmer design, building on the experience it gained producing the world’s first modular smartphone, Fairphone 2.

From electronic waste and massive CO2 emissions to harsh working conditions and devastating sourcing practices, the smartphone industry is a huge contributor to some of the world’s most serious environmental and human rights problems.

Since 2013, Fairphone has been pioneering new approaches to improve the way these products are made and create scalable models that can be replicated in the rest of the industry. With every new generation of phones it develops, Fairphone is expanding on existing projects and introducing new initiatives to make its supply chain fairer for all those involved.

The latest Fairphone model is made with responsibly sourced and conflict-free materials including tin and tungsten, recycled copper and plastics, as well as Fairtrade gold. Fairphone was the first electronics manufacturer to integrate Fairtrade gold into its supply chain.

Based on Fairphone’s research keeping the Fairphone 3 longer, while maintaining it, can save 30% of CO2 emissions or more.

Fairphone 3 will be sold with sustainable and reusable packaging and is delivered with its own protective bumper for extra protection from everyday day knocks and bumps.

In a blog post on the Fairphone website, Fairphone CEO Eva Gouwen wrote: “I’ve experienced first-hand the power of social enterprises to move entire industries simply by bending the rules about what’s normal and what’s right in tiny ways. When people get behind those tiny changes, the results can be amazing. I admire Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, for how she transformed the way we think about the ethics and sustainability of personal care products. She once said: “If you think you’re too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”

“That’s how Fairphone started: as an ethically-minded mosquito in a room full of giants. There were plenty who predicted we wouldn’t last a single night. But a community gathered around the idea of Fairphone, and our community has kept us alive. That community included industry partners who opened doors that had once been closed to talking about sustainability and workers rights.

“With every phone we make and sell, with every industry partner that follows our example, with every customer who starts a conversation about what makes their phone fair, we take another step forward in our quest for a fairer electronics industry. Our first challenge was to prove you can make an ethical phone and survive. Now we’re out to prove to the industry that it’s the best way to thrive. This is our 3rd generation phone. We’ve learned massively through experience, and that’s essential when you’re blazing a trail for which no map exists.

“When you hold a Fairphone 3 you’re holding more than a bunch of impressive specs. Sure it’s got a brilliant camera, the battery life is awesome, the screen is big and crisp, and there’s heaps of memory. But what sets this phone apart is an idea that millions of people have turned into something incredibly powerful: a proof of concept for a future that’s kinder to humans and to the earth. A statement that a better world is possible. That change is in your hands.”

The Fairphone 3 will be released on 3 September across Europe from selected (online) retailers and operators.


Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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