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Down to Earth

How ethical is your smartphone?

In the last decade, more than seven billion smartphones of all makes have been produced in the world, almost as many people as there are on the planet. On average we upgrade our smartphone every two years and this replacement frenzy is often encouraged by the companies themselves. Critics call it a "Take, Make, Waste" model: extracting resources from the earth, transforming them through energy-intensive processes and discarding the product after a short lifespan.

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This model is also taking a toll on those who make our devices, as the precious raw materials found in a smartphone can be the cause of armed conflict. So how does one make a phone with minimal harm to people and the planet? Dutch company Fairphone says it has found the answer. We ask its CEO what makes their phone the fairest smartphone of them all.

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