FairTEC, taking digital sustainability a step further

/e/ Developers Blog
3 min readJun 4, 2021

At /e/, we are always on the lookout for projects sharing similar values to promote, being deeply rooted in open innovation, open communities and putting people first.

As a mobile operating system publisher, joining an initiative like FairTEC felt very natural.

The FairTEC offer

With FairTEC, we aim to raise awareness for the structures that push for fairer and more sustainable practices within the electronics and telecommunications industry.

Our goal is to create a seamless platform that promotes solutions and services that incorporate the key principles of circular economy from the hardware to the operating system to the network to the business model.

End users can easily access the full solutions and services that FairTEC actors offer, a centralised proposition that will enable them to rent or buy a Fairphone under /e/ with a SIM card from the operator for their country.

The project manifesto

It has been established over and over again that digital technology’s impacts are vast and far reaching, affecting the environment, our societies and our everyday lives.

According to Statista, as of 2019, the average global e-waste generated per capita stood at 7.3 kilograms. This trend is expected to continue, with projections showing that by 2030, annual e-waste generation worldwide will have increased by approximately 30 percent.

Source: Statista

It is estimated that digital technology is responsible for approximately 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. With 1.4 billion smartphones sold each year and only 15% reused or recycled, smartphones are responsible for a significant portion of e-waste that is accumulating at staggering speed in landfills.

We believe that actors in the smartphone and telecommunications sector have a responsibility to offer solutions and services that can limit our environmental impact as well as encourage end-users to adopt new behaviours with regards to their use of electronics.

It was through this lens that FairTEC was created. We have decided to work together to offer credible and sustainable alternatives in order to create a paradigm shift.

For us, a more sustainable digital ecosystem means :

  • Reducing the impact of smartphone production by focusing on modular and repairable designs that integrate ethically and responsibly sourced materials.
  • Choosing a lighter and privacy-friendly operating system that does not store infinite amounts of data to profile users or sell advertising.
  • Choosing a mobile subscription that supports you in transitioning to a healthier and more sustainable mobile usage.
  • Choosing an economic model that favours longevity by renting your smartphone and having the support you need to keep it as long as possible.

You can read our full manifesto here.

The actors

FairTEC is a collective group of ethical European actors committed to digital sustainability. Each one, in their respective field, is doing their utmost to implement real change in the way we consume technology.

Fairphone, Commown, WEtell, TeleCoop, the Phone Co-op and /e/ are the founding members, but we look forward to welcoming new actors to keep extending the FairTEC offer to more users.

Why did /e/ get involved

As a mobile operating system publisher pushing for data sovereignty, joining an initiative like FairTEC felt very natural.

With this European alliance, we can now offer a whole set of credible options for the growing amount of people looking for a better and more sustainable digital world. It feels incredible to address nearly every step of the phone value-chain, from the material sourcing needed to produce the phone, all the way to the monthly mobile service bill.

Visit the FairTEC website: https://fairtec.io/en/

For more updates on the FairTEC project, follow their accounts on Twitter & Mastodon.