[Community] fairphone project

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Mon Feb 3 11:26:27 CET 2014


Am 02.02.2014 um 23:15 schrieb wonderphone at posteo.de:

> Hi all,
> I think fair trade is really important. It is not for fighting bad conscience or just an argument to sell more phones. I simply do not want to buy a phone that is built by exploiting the environment and the hard living conditions of the production and mining workers.
> While fair trade projects do not reach out to OpenPhoenux would it be possible to build up fair trade knowhow on our own? I am sure I can also find people who would can add expertise to the project.

Yes, that is a good idea.

> Would the manufacturer of the GTA04 want to disclose his suppliers? Or do we know all the suppliers of all the parts already? The complicated supply chain in the electronics business makes it a real challenge.

The problem is usually not the first level (parts). It is just a question to ask where they get e.g. the capacitors or Si-Chips from. Then we know or learn they come from Vishay, Epcos, TDK, Taiyo Yuden, Murata, TI, Micron, Silicon Labs etc. and some other big brands. But the next step becomes difficult to find out where those get their materials from.

For some chips we know that they are manufactured in Malaisia, for others we know (from export declaration documents) that they have apparently been assembled (the last production step) in Yemen. But that may even change for the next batch of components we receive.

Basically we have two topics that we already can control:
a) where we produce
b) which type of components we use

For a) the GTA04A4 boards have been assembled in Munich (near "Ostbahnhof") and the plan for the GTA04A5 is to do it in Oberhaching (the same facility where the OpenPandora is produced). So we know the people and the machines. And that they use ROHS production and are required to follow German working safety regulations with hazardous materials (e.g. solder paste, flux) and others (daily work time, social security etc.).

For b) we know (but did not spread the word) that we only us ceramic capacitors and don't use a single Tantalum capacitor which is always mentioned with the Fairphone. So we can't even say that we look where the Tantalum is coming from, because we have none inside.

Another example: the backup battery for the RTC is no longer a LiIon type as in the GTA01/02 but a mechanically compatible supercap:


But I have no idea how we get more information how this capacitor is produced and where and by whom. And who provides the raw materials.

And for many components (almost all Si chips) there is no alternative. I.e. we have to take what Texas Instruments and Micron are delivering to us. And they won't change any process or their supply management because *we* ask for it...
> We have the opportunity to achieve double fairness: Make sure our privacy is treated fairly and make sure everybody involved in the production is treated fairly. I believe the hardware is already quite fair and it would make sense to document it further.

So I think it is a really good idea, but it is almost impossible to trace down the full supply chain (unless big market forces or regulation requires manufacturers to provide this information, e.g. something like ROHS and REACH).

Anyways, if we find volunteers who want to manage/update/maintain such a supply chain tree I can try to provide some background information.


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