Amsterdam-based Fairphone, a company that claims to make the world’s first fairly designed and produced smartphone, announced on Tuesday, January 31, that it has raised €49M in funding from a global group of impact investors led by new shareholders Invest-NL, ABN AMRO Sustainable Impact Fund, and existing investor Quadia with its Regenero Impact Fund.
Invest-NL invested €20M in this funding. The consortium has joined forces with other existing investors DALHAP, DOEN Participaties, and PDENH.
Elisabeth Storm de Grave, Principal at Invest-NL, says, “We are excited to support Fairphone’s growth ambitions as a true circular ‘lighthouse case’ within the electronics industry. With its approach to making ethical products that put both people and the planet at the heart of Fairphone, Fairphone is setting new standards for the entire industry.”
“Together, we are disrupting short-term thinking that the world can no longer afford and creating a sustainable and fair future for all stakeholders.”
“Towards a fairer electronics industry”
Founded in 2013 by Bas van Abel and currently led by CEO Eva Gouwens, Fairphone aims to inspire the entire electronics industry to act more responsibly.
According to the company, every phone sold by Fairphone demonstrates the demand for ethical electronics combined with a profitable business strategy.
Fairphone claims it is becoming influential in the market to encourage manufacturers and suppliers to keep making investments in improving working conditions, such as employee satisfaction and sustainable business practices, and providing better opportunities to the communities connected to the supply chain.
“We’re making a positive impact across the value chain in mining, design, manufacturing and life cycle, while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first. Together with our community, we’re changing the way products are made,” says Fairphone.
Fairphone says it is making a positive impact on nine issues directly linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These include no poverty, quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, industry and innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and partnerships for the goals.
The B-Corp-certified company has more than 70 employees working from 20 countries. Currently, there are more than 100,000 Fairphone owners.
Fairphone says it will use the funds to improve its brand positioning and raise awareness of sustainability and fairness in the electronics sector.
It will help accelerate the integration of fair and recycled materials across Fairphone’s product portfolio. These include expanding its mining value chain programmes in Africa and South America, and fair wages programs in Asia.
Additionally, Fairphone will also invest in product development and improved customer service in order to ensure that consumers enjoy using their Fairphones for a longer period of time.
CEO Eva Gouwens says, “Over the past few years, Fairphone has been able to transform from a social movement into an impactful mission-driven company. With a growing base of mission-oriented investors, we will continue to draw attention to fairer electronics and accelerate our company’s growth & impact.”