Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy students hear about the world’s first ethical, modular smartphone

Students at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy heard about the world’s first ethical, modular smartphone at the re-launch of their Fairtrade group.

Father Martin Sylvester, a governor at the academy, spoke to students about Fairphone, a social enterprise company which aims to develop smartphones that are designed and produced with minimal harm to people and the planet.

The main motivations for founding Fairphone were to develop a mobile device that does not contain conflict minerals, which in smartphones are typically gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten, has fair labour conditions for the workforce along the supply chain producing it and help people to use their phone longer.

The second version of the company’s handset is one of the first modular smartphones available to buy, with the product being designed to be easily repaired and upgraded.

Father Sylvester talked to students about the Fairphone’s specification and cost and how it was made.

He said: “It would be amazing if Fairphone changes decisions made by phone manufacturers in the same way that the Fairtrade movement changed the decisions made by supermarkets. We want people to think, not just about their phone’s spec but whether it was fairly traded.”

Student Thomas Menghini, 14, said he was considering getting a Fairphone when his phone contract was up for renewal.

He said: “Although the Fairphone might not be the best one on the market in terms of the spec, the fact that buying it would help the people who make it makes it worthwhile. I think it’s a really good idea and it looks like a good phone.”

Rachel Rose, chaplain at Saint John Houghton CVA, in Kirk Hallam, said she was delighted by students’ reaction to the Fairphone.

She said: “We thought this would be an ideal time to re-launch our Fairtrade group with it being Lent and the end of the Year of Mercy and our students really wanted to see it return.

“So it was a great opportunity to have Father Sylvester talk about the Fairphone. Students are always up to date with the latest technology and they asked some fantastic questions.

“It was great to hear some of them say that they would consider buying a Fairphone when they have to renew their phone contracts and it’s definitely something that I’m going to look into.”

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