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Only 15% of old phones get recycled.

And that’s not the biggest problem. 

When you get your new phone in your hand, most of the harm has already been done. 70 - 80 % of the phone’s footprint is in the making, not in the usage.

If we use our phones longer, less resources are needed for their production. And there will be less electronics waste.

But how do you design a phone for circularity and longevity?

Fairphone managed to create and grow a phone company with a circular and fair model:

  • A phone easy to repair

  • 100% electronic waste neutral

  • Made in fair factories

  • Repairable, sustainable, ethically sourced

It all started with a campaign back in 2011.

Bas van Abel, founder of Fairphone, was raising awareness around conflict minerals and mining practices in the electronics industry. 

They came up with the idea of a made-up, non-existing Fairphone.

People loved the concept so much: they got 30,000 people on the pre-order list.

That first year Fairphone made a turnover of 16M euro. They became the fastest-growing technology start-up in Europe.

Fairphone was officially launched in 2013 and today they have:

- 40M euro turnover

- sold 500,000 Fairphones

- released 5 phone versions

- 150 employees across the world

Listen to the episode with Bas van Abel, founder, board member, and ex-CEO of Fairphone, to learn How to balance a sustainable mission with a profitable business model, while taking care of your health as a founder

In this episode you will learn:

- How to operate a circular business model and make it fair

- How Fairphone found their product-market fit through campaigning

- What conflict minerals are and the complexity of the supply chain needed to make a phone

- How to make the supply chain as fair as possible

- How they managed to set up the Fair Cobalt Alliance

- What makes Fairphone fair?

- How to create a business model that supports a longevity mission and is profitable at the 

same time

- How to move from an old to a new reality through the theory of change and set impact milestones

- How steward-ownership can help to have a healthier relationship with your stakeholders

- When is the right time to raise VC

- How to hire a management team

- How Bas went into a big burn-out and how to take care of your personal health as a founder

Watch the full episode on YouTube -


Bas van Abel LinkedIn

Fairphone website

Books recommendation:

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt


Watch my video presentation “3 key strategies to grow a following of 7500+ changemakers on Linkedin” 👉 watch presentation 


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