Ethical smartphone start-up Fairphone secured €6.5 million funding to “scale up its positive impact throughout the entire electronics value chain, including material sourcing, production, distribution and recycling”.
The company – which launched two generations of smartphones and built a “community of more than 135,000 Fairphone owners” in four years – said the cash will enable it to meet a growing demand for fairer electronics and expand its European distribution network.
Increasing production volumes will, in turn, enable it to increase its influence in the supply chain and give it more opportunities to “source fair materials, innovate on long-lasting design, negotiate better working conditions, and pioneer business models for reuse and recycling”.
“In line with our ambitions to raise the bar in the electronics industry, we aim to increase our leverage with electronics suppliers to negotiate a healthier, more future-proof supply chain. This touches on a variety of issues, including the availability and lifespan of electronic components, the sourcing of Fairtrade gold and improving working conditions,” said founder and CEO Bas van Abel.
The investment was also said to allow the company to “further formalise its organisation”. Joining as MD is Eva Gouwens from Dutch fair trade confectionary company Tony’s Chocolonely, who brings “experience in growing a social enterprise, both in terms of organisation as well as value chain impact”.
Fairphone’s financial support comes from Pymwymic (Put Your Money Where Your Meaning Is Community), said to be Europe’s oldest impact investing group, and Doen Foundation, the investment arm of the Dutch postcode lottery.