Ethical smartphone startup Fairphone shortlisted ten materials which “offer the greatest potential” in terms of supply chain improvement, following an assessment completed by sustainability consultants The Dragonfly Initiative.
It said the assessment will “guide Fairphone’s responsible sourcing efforts in the years ahead”.
The materials identified are Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten, Gold, Cobalt, Copper, Gallium, Indium, Nickel and rare earth metals. While there are “pressing issues associated with many of the materials analysed”, this set offers Fairphone the most potential for successful interventions and wide-reaching impact, it said.
The evaluation used a range of criteria including criticality for smartphone use, recycling rates, and mining-related social and environmental issues, to determine which materials’ supply chains are associated with the most significant issues, and which offer the greatest opportunities for improvement.
As a first step, Fairphone established traceable supply chains for Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten and Gold, which it said are the four recognised conflict minerals. With the prioritised list of ten materals, it will “focus on further improving the four existing supply chains while evaluating the possibilities for making a positive impact in six more”.
At the other end of the chain, Fairphone said it will soon be publishing the results of a recyclability study.