October News Roundup, Featuring the First Fair Trade Phone

FairPhone's concept rendering of their fair trade phone

FairPhone’s concept rendering of their fair trade phone

I am giddy with excitement over this first news story. FairPhone, a company based in the Netherlands and Great Britain, is working to make the first fair trade smart phone. Long have I been tempted by the iPhone’s sleek look and beloved interface, but I have held off purchasing a smart phone because 1) I just don’t need it and 2) I know smart phones are produced with mined resources that contribute to conflict in Africa, not to mention they are assembled under questionable (at best) working conditions. FairPhone is working to address issues of raw materials sourcing, assembly, and e-waste, and plans to bring their product on the market in the next two years. Ethical Ocean has an interesting post where they suggest that the race to create a fair trade phone has officially begun, with Apple also working to improve the conditions in their supplier factories. (The link also includes a TED video about fair trade phones.) In today’s technology-driven society, this is a much-needed initiative. I’m excited for the day when the best technology is also partnered with the best ethical practices.

Bubbs is a new cause-focused shopping site that directs consumers to products that support one of many various causes, from animal rights to the environment to human trafficking. There is no blanket guarantee that the listed products meet any specific ethical criteria, but under each product image they provide a brief description of the cause supported by that product. Clicking a product takes you to a separate retailer’s website, where you can further investigate their ethics and practices.

This month Fair Trade Towns USA ran the Go Bananas Campaign to promote the demand for fair trade certified bananas. Have you switched to fair trade bananas? You can find them at Whole Foods, Sam’s Club in some states, Ahold/Stop & Shop, and various independent grocery stores.

P.S. Halloween is this coming Wednesday! If you’re planning on giving out chocolate, don’t forget to investigate fair trade options. If you live in the northeast, it may not be too late to order fair trade dark chocolate minis from Equal Exchange. Otherwise, check your local fair trade or natural food store to see what they offer!

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