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Highlighting sustainability in the electronic supply chain

Posted: 02 Sep 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Sourcemap? supply chain? sustainability? electronic?

Sustainability is not an end result, but a continuous process that any organisation needs to be vigilant about. Building it takes planning, mapping and fine-tuning, and data visualisation enables organisations to connect all three.

Awareness of the need for sustainability and transparency in the electronic supply chain is rising. And a number of companies have said they are committed to improving in those areas, whether in response to questions about components of their supply chain, like conflict minerals, or as a positive choice when defining the company's mission.

No matter what the motive, any company that commits adopt socially responsible sourcing has to be able to track all the components of its electronic supply chain, which has to take into account not only the carbon output at the point of production but through all the phases of transportation, as well.

Companies that aim to achieve transparency and sustainability turn to Sourcemap to chart their supply chain "from raw materials to end customer." Among its clients is the Netherlands-based Fairphone. As we saw in Susan Fourtane's article on Fairphone's launch in 2013, the phones were designed with sustainable features that include the following: conflict-free tin and tantalum (from the DRC), rootable OS, worker welfare, replaceable batteries, e-waste programme and dual SIM.

The Fairphone's experiment in offering a more sustainable phone to customers who shared the company's commitment to environment was a success. It sold the entire initial production run of 25,000 units. Clearly, it had higher standards than alternative smartphones, but it still had "room for improvement," according to the report, 'Fair' smartphones compared Fairphone scores better than TCO-certified smartphones.

The report credited Fairphone for "responsible mining, including conflict minerals, and reducing environmental and social impacts." The company was also recognized for "e-waste measures," as well as the "multi-stakeholder approach in the supply chain to improve working conditions and transparency." However, the report found Fairphone lacking in five areas.

Fairphone addressed that critiques in a blog with assurances that those area will be improved with the Fairphone 2 that became available for pre-order on July 16 for delivery this November. The latest version of the phone promises a higher standard of sustainability than the first version of the phone, which was somewhat limited by working off of an existing design.

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