Bas van Abel
Bas van Abel is an awarded social entrepreneur (ao. German Environment Award 2016), designer (ao. Dutch Design Awards) and innovator (ao Greentec Award). Open design is the driving force behind many of his initiatives, combined with his passion for building new relationships between people and products. He is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fairphone, a social enterprise which creates a phone to uncover complex production systems and change how products are made. Fairphone has been widely recognised with awards such as the UN Momentum for Change Award 2015, the European Business Award for the Environment 2016, and is a certified B Corp. Prior to Fairphone, Bas was Head of Waag Society’s Open Design Lab, where he established Amsterdam's FABLab, a community maker space, and initiated the Instructables Restaurant, the world’s first open source restaurant.
- Contact via
- For-profit Social Enterprise
- Electronics; Circular Economy; Sustainable Development
- Areas of Impact
- Africa, Latin America, Eurasia, Europe
Fairphone is a Dutch social enterprise that is building a movement for fairer electronics. By making a sustainable phone, it’s opening up the supply chain and creating new relationships between people and their products. From the mines to the factories, the electronics industry is filled with unfair practices; Fairphone believes that the best way to change the industry is to be part of it.
Fairphone is making a positive impact across the value chain in four different areas - fair materials, long-lasting design, good working conditions, and reuse and recycling - while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first. Its phones last longer thanks to their modular design, easy repairs, spare parts, and frequent software updates. As shown in a life cycle assessment by Fraunhofer institute, due to the modular design of the Fairphone 2, users can keep their phone for longer and save 30% of CO2 emissions and valuable resources needed to produce smartphones.
Fairphone connects responsible materials to their supply chain by setting-up traceable supply chains to source: conflict-free tin and tantalum from the DRC; conflict-free tungsten from Rwanda; and Fairtrade gold from Peru. In Uganda, Fairphone partnered with the Dutch government and local NGOs to start a framework that ensures no child labour is used in the extraction of gold. Fairphone is also focusing on the health and safety, working hours, and communication channels of its workers. To reducing electronic waste, Fairphone is maximizing the take-back of old phones and electronic waste from Europe, as well as a selection of African countries without safe recycling practices.
Fairphone started as a raising awareness campaign about conflict minerals in 2010 and since then has been very active in regularly informing their consumers about the complexity, challenges and conditions of the electronics supply chains. Since 2016, additionally to selling to their core consumer base, they took Fairphone to the mainstream market by focusing on B2B partnerships. This includes NGOs and institutions that are already aligned with their mission, but also resellers and providers that are selling Fairphones with contracts. They have now sold over 150.000 Fairphones.