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Vodafone tackles electrical waste with Fairphone tie-up

Telecoms provider and retailer Vodafone has today (1 November) announced a partnership with ethical phone company Fairphone across multiple European countries.

The Fairphone 3, a durable Android smartphone based on a modular design that allows for different elements such as the screen, battery and camera to be repaired easily, will be made available to Vodafone customers in the UK, Germany, Italy, Republic of Ireland, and Spain by the end of 2019.

Fairphone, which is pushing the electronics industry to encourage re-use and repair wherever possible, invests in recycling programmes to buy back e-waste from landfills in Africa for safe recycling in Europe. The aim is to extend the life of devices to minimise their environmental footprint.

As part of the tie-up, Vodafone and Fairphone said they will collaborate on key industry sustainability issues focused on the circular economy, electronic waste and responsible sourcing.

Fairphone CEO, Eva Gouwens, remarked: "Fairphone is showing that there is a market for more ethical phones to inspire the rest of the industry to produce more ethically.

“Working with a large operator such as Vodafone helps to bring sustainable electronics to the mainstream market and therefore this is one of the strongest signals we can send to the rest of the industry."

Prompted by growing societal demand for businesses to be more sustainable and address the global climate crisis, retailers – both collaboratively and individually – are making a series of commitments to act with more environmental responsibly.

Tesco announced today that it will remove one billion pieces of plastic from products for sale in its UK stores by the end of 2020, as part of a commitment to omit non-recyclable and excess packaging from its business.

Meanwhile, in the fashion world this week, online marketplace Zalando and mid-market womenswear and accessories retailer Monsoon made significant sustainability pledges.

Monsoon said over 50% of its clothing will be sustainable for the spring-summer 2020 season, which will include the increase in usage of organic cotton, while it also announced it will launch a 90% sustainable beachwear collection.

Zalando claimed carbon neutral status, highlighting its switch to 90% renewable energy usage across all its locations, and elimination of single-use plastics in its fulfilment processes. It said it will meet Paris climate agreement goals ahead of schedule.

Co-CEO Rubin Ritter commented: “The fashion industry is facing sustainability challenges and we know we have been part of the problem.

“Going forward, our aspiration is to be part of the solution.”

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