The Dragonfly Initiative’s second project with Fairphone launched today, with the online publication of a materials scoping study that TDI has conducted with Fairphone over the past four months. The aim of the study was to conduct a high level analysis of 38 materials typically found within smartphones, in order to help Fairphone to prioritise the materials they should next engage in their endeavor to build fairer supply chains.
In their quest to create and advocate for more ethical electronics devices, Fairphone has already engaged with four conflict mineral* supply chains: tin, tantalum, tungsten, and most recently gold – the first pilot project to utilise certified Fairtrade gold within the electronics industry (see our previous blog post.) Beyond these four metals however there are many other material supply chains that can be also associated with conflict or with a diversity of other issues, from the worst forms of human rights abuses, to widespread environmental impacts, economic scarcity and risks to public health.
In recognition of this, and in their ambition to continue addressing each of their supply chains, TDI and Fairphone created a set of criteria from which a broad comparison could be made across the original four conflict minerals, together with a further 34 materials that are also commonly phone in smartphones. The resulting infographic – see Fairphone’s website – lists all of the materials and the degree to which they are each associated with different issues in an “at-a-glance” colour coded chart. Fairphone has used this infographic to assess which materials score highest across all the listed issues, and prioritise a further six materials which offer the best opportunities for creating further positive impact within their supply chains and sourcing strategies.
In the second stage of this study (to be published later this spring) the final ten materials will each be explored in further depth. The resulting material profiles geographically contextualise the associated issues according to where the materials are produced and detail existing initiatives that are designed to address them, thereby helping to outline possible strategies for engaging with each supply chain going forward.
To read the full story in Fairphone’s own words, see here.
*As defined by the Dodd-Frank Act 2012.