A Moral Revision of Electronic Supply Chains (Guest Post by Bas van Abel, Fairphone)

To make the supply chain more transparent, Fairphone opens up the entire system to understand what shapes our economy. I am happy to share the following guest post by Bas van Abel, CEO and founder of Fairphone. Thank you for contributing to my blog.

Business practices in the supply chains of the electronics industry are in urgent need of moral revision. What do we know about the production of complex electronic devices and the people who make them? By making a phone, Fairphone wants to uncover and expose each link in the supply chain and step-by-step make interventions to improve the way things are made. Instead of hiding behind the complexity of the supply chain, Fairphone wants to unveil the problems associated with the smartphone production like poor labor conditions, the use of conflict minerals and the rise in electronic waste. To do so, we are searching for solutions by engaging in partnerships to come with alternatives to current models. In the first Fairphone that will be released in December 2013, conflict-free tin and tantalum from the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been integrated in the manufacturing of the phone, but that’s only a first step. By growing a movement of people who can share best practices and by creating a platform for discussion, Fairphone aims to raise the bar for the industry meanwhile giving people a choice for fairer electronics.

Bas has a background in interaction design and is an active member of the Maker Movement. He supports open design principles. He has set up projects such as the Waag Society’s Fablab and the Instructables restaurant (an open source restaurant). He is co-editor of the book “Open Design Now”.

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Risk Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

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