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nowadays, there are quite some fair trade products customers can choose when buying stuff. there’s fair chocolate, fair bananas, fair t-shirts, etc. one common denominator of these products is that they consist of not too many things, that they are not too complex. essentially for all kind of products which are too complex – think of electronics – virtually no fair products exist. and in fact, producing a 100% fair electronic device is essentially impossible without a huge amount of ressources available. there are just too many different tasks to ensure.
but fortunately, there are some projects which at least try. most notably, there are two projects i want to write about today. first, there’s the german faire maus, a (somewhat) fair mouse. the precise list of pieces need to assemble one can be found here, together with information what problems can arise in their production, which problems are (essentially) solved for the fair mouse, and which are still unsolved. so, while not 100% fair, at least the process is very transparent and it is possible to identity points where the process is still not exactly fair.
another project is the fairphone, a project from the netherlands trying to produce a fairer smartphone. compared to a simple mouse, a smartphone is way more complex, and depends on a much larger range of different parts. well, as a consequence, it is also much harder to make it fair. the fairphone project still tries hard. besides fair, they also try to be very transparent about where everything is from and under which conditions it was obtained/created. for example, there’s conflict-free tin from a congolese mine involved.
the fairphone project is currently trying to get enough advance orders to produce the first batch of fairphones. they need 5000 orders, and so far, they just got around 1640. the number is increasing now and then, but i’m wondering if it will reach the required 5000 early enough. in september, the fairphone team wants to inform about a possible delivery date, which will hopefully be in october. so if you’re planning to get a (new) smartphone somewhen in the near future, you should think about supporting that project. the price of 325 euros is quite in range, and you’re supporting a good cause. (and if it doesn’t work out, you’ll get your money back somewhen in fall.)
actually, i just ordered one fairphone last week. (well, and also two fair mouses.) not that i suddenly like the idea of having a smartphone (i still don’t), but then, i can still install linux on it – after all, i will be allowed to do that, as opposed to most other smartphones which you don’t really own when buying them. (isn’t that another reason?)

comments.

felix wrote on june 01, 2013 at 08:51:

at the moment, 3871 fairphones are sold out of 5000 (which makes 77%), while 13 days are left. it is still unclear whether it will make the 5000 which ensure that it will actually be produced, but i still hope it does.

felix wrote on june 05, 2013 at 06:57:

great news! yesterday (or yesternight), the 5000 orders came together, so the fairphone will be produced! :)