Bas van abel
Repair and conflict minerals

19.02.24. internet

Bas van Abel founded Fairphone in 2013. The company attempts to transform the way our smartphones are manufactured, by reducing e-waste, sourcing conflict-free minerals, and improving working conditions in its supply chain. It creates a product consumers are encouraged to keep longer and which, importantly, they can also repair themselves.

Fairphone was an immediate hit, attracting 25,000 orders when it launched its first smartphone via a crowd-funding campaign. It has now sold over half a million phones and employs 150 staff.

In 2018, Bas stepped back as CEO of the company – although he remains a non-executive board member – and, subsequently, co-founded De Clique, a circular start up that looks at ways of dealing with food waste. He is also author of Open Design Now.

In this episode we talk about: not owning a mobile before he founded Fairphone; how smartphones are made and the global supply chain they require; issues around mining minerals; the importance of repair and longevity; why recycling is ‘stupid’; wanting to create a ‘values based’ economic system; how his son’s broken Nintendo DS played a role in starting the company; his initial doubts; the immense stress starting the brand put him under; the company’s ‘shitty’ first phone; and trying to change the system from within.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Fairphone please use the link here.

Find out more about Fairphone.

The Fairphone 5, the company’s latest model