Thanks to DGGF Fairphone is striving to change the electronics industry from within

The Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) has provided Dutch smartphone manufacturer Fairphone a guarantee for a  9-million euro ABN AMRO loan. The guarantee was signed on 21 December 2018 by Eva Gouwens (CEO Fairphone) and Tjerk Opmeer (Managing Director of International Programmes at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency).

CEO Eva Gouwens is convinced that the DGGF guaranteed loan will enable Fairphone to continue its mission. Fairphone will use the loan for researching new product opportunities. The raw materials will come from DGGF-countries.

Photo of Fairphone signing
Eva Gouwens (Fairphone) and Tjerk Opmeer ( signing the deal

Responsible smartphones

Dutch smartphone manufacturer Fairphone B.V. has produced the world’s first ethical and modular smartphone. The social enterprise strives to have a positive impact on every aspect of the smartphone’s life cycle. The objective is to motivate the industry to take steps to adopt more responsible production methods. For example by improving working conditions and eradicating child labour when mining for raw materials such as tin, gold and tungsten.The Fairphone consists of 6 components (the display, camera, battery, core, top and bottom) which are easy to replace when one of the components malfunctions or when a technological improvement comes onto the market. This way you do not need to replace the whole smartphone, they become easier to repair and the product lasts longer. It’s the sustainability story behind the Fairphone which makes the product unique.

Fairness pays

The sustainability of the product has huge ‘likeability’ from both consumers and media. Because the concept appeals to the imagination, a previous crowdfunding campaign was a resounding success. Before ABN AMRO and DGGF granted their loan, Fairphone raised 7 million euros from several investors.

Development impact

Through its current projects, Fairphone has had a positive impact on the lives of around 3000 people directly involved in de supply chain. If you count family members, the situation of around 12,000 people has improved indirectly. A number of the raw materials used by the company come from DGGF countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. By sourcing its raw materials from these countries, Fairphone is having a positive impact on local employment.

For instance, a Fund against Child Labour (FBK) project at an artisanal gold mine in Uganda to combat child labour at this small-scale gold mine. In addition, other improvement projects have been initiated with other organisations to make the supply chain of tin, tantalum and  cobolt in the Democratic Republic of  Congo transparent and to combat conflict funding. The various programmes support local employment, improve market access, ensure knowledge transfer and improve the local workforce through training and access to technology.

Tim van Galen, senior investment manager at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency on the cooperation says, ‘Fairphone is a particularly good match for DGGF: as a Dutch social enterprise, it strives for better wages and working conditions in the mobile phone supply chain and that is badly needed. Take the colbalt mines in Congo. Ultimately, over 12,000 people benefit from the projects Fairphone supports in the mobile phone supply chain. This is precisely the impact DGGF is seeking.’

More information

Read more about the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF).