Sustainable and ethical mobiles: What are they, how to buy them

Do you know what sustainable mobiles are ? We tell you what they consist of, their importance and which brands and models are manufactured ethically.

Have you ever wondered what is the ecological impact of manufacturing a phone? SPOILER: Very high. So we are going to teach you to identify the most sustainable and ethical mobile models so that your next purchase is the same or even smarter than your next phone. Know more about easter gifts for kids.

And it is that in figures, around two thirds of the world population (more than 5,000 million people) currently have a smartphone . Now think about how regularly we change the phone and start multiplying. Where do all these materials come from? Where do second-hand phones go? What is the climate impact of all this? Read on and you will find out.

What are sustainable mobiles?

Sustainable mobiles are those that actively seek to reduce their environmental impact. In this way, we find not only ethical mobiles with the environment, but also sustainable in all aspects, be it from the moment of the extraction of its materials, its manufacture, transport or even sale. So, the next time you want to buy a mobile, think about looking for sustainable mobile brands or buying second-hand phones, thus giving them a second life, thus saving them from becoming electronic waste. You might be interested in easter gift.

But what does a phone contain to pollute so much? An average smartphone is made up of 40% metals, 40% plastics, and 20% ceramics and resin. Among all these minerals that are used for its manufacture, we find many so-called “conflict minerals” such as tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold, apart from other metals such as silver, nickel, lead, cobalt, zinc, copper, arsenic, chromium and selenium. Learn more about funny easter eggs.

Unless recycled materials are used, something that is becoming more and more widespread (for example, the Tokyo 2020 medals were made with recycled mobile phones), all of them must be extracted, which usually has dire consequences such as: the exploitation of people in countries of the third world, the destruction of ecosystems, in addition to the use of large amounts of water and fuel.

Why don’t brands make more ethical mobiles?

The reality is this: everyone wants the latest and greatest smartphone on the market. The consequence of this and the continuous advancement of technology means that the useful life of our devices is shorter. On the one hand, people exchange their phones for the new models while the “old” ones still work perfectly. Companies know this and take advantage, bringing out a new model (or even several) with minimal improvements every year.

Which mobile brands are the most sustainable?

It is difficult to determine exactly which mobile brand is more sustainable than others, since there are a large number of factors to take into account. From the durability of its models and the ease of repairing them, to everything that has to do with their manufacture and sale. To shed some light on the matter, we have classified some of the best-known brands according to their environmental and social impact, ( based on reports from so that you can assess which mobile brand in a more ethical and sustainable way. you want to give it a second chance.

  • Use of conflict minerals: referring to the way in which companies responsibly (or not) source the most conflict minerals necessary for the manufacture of mobiles.
  • Supply chain management: it is about defending the rights of workers involved in the entire supply and logistics chain of companies.
  • Management of toxic chemical substances: regarding company policies regarding the elimination of highly polluting and toxic chemical compounds.
Top reasonable worst
Use of conflict minerals Alphabet (Google), Apple, Fairphone, LG, Lenovo, Sony Motorola Doro, Nokia, HTC, Huawei, Samsung, Alcatel, Blackberry, ZTE
Supply chain management Fairphone Apple, Huawei, Lenovo, Motorola, LG Doro, Google, Nokia, HTC, Samsung, Sony, Alcatel, Blackberry, ZTE
Management of toxic chemicals Apple, Huawei Alphabet (Google), Lenovo, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Doro, Fairphone, Nokia, HTC, LG, Alcatel, Blackberry, ZTE

What mobile brands are the most ethical?

Another point of view is whether the mobile brands we are thinking of buying from are really ethical or not. To find out about this, we can use pages like that provide us with scores on how ethical these companies are based on the following criteria:

  • Environment: Environmental reports, use of nuclear energy and provision of eco-labels
  • animal welfare
  • People: Weapons, code of conduct, political donations and human rights
  • Others: Ethical accreditations and other criticisms
Fairphone 87
HTC 54
Motorola 54
iPhone 54
Honor fifty
huawei fifty
nokia fifty
one plus 46
Sony 46
LG 38
Me 38
Samsung 38
google-pixel 33

What mobile brands are the easiest to repair?

If we are a bit clumsy and our mobile spends more time on the ground than in the hand, this will interest you. And there are pages like where the different mobile models are scored based on their repairability, with the highest score being those that are easy to disassemble and repair or even have a service manual available.

Galaxy S10 3/10
Google Pixel 3XL 4/10
OnePlus 7Pro 4/10
Xiaomi Mi 11 4/10
iPhone X 6/10
iPhone 11 6/10
iPhone 12 6/10
Google Pixel 3A 6/10
Fairphone 3 10/10

Fairphone, at the forefront of creating ethical and sustainable phones

Although it doesn’t sound like anything to you, this brand is at the top of all these lists of best sustainable mobiles. Since its inception, the Dutch brand has campaigned against the use of conflict minerals and now leads supply chain transparency and repairability for all its models, and even integrates fair trade gold into its manufacturing.

The sustainable mobiles of the Fairphone brand stand out because they are practically modular, being able to disassemble and repair them yourself. In such a way that you could even have several spare batteries for emergencies (yes, like in the old days). If you want to know more about it, we present one of its latest star models.

Fairphone 3+
Screen 5.65 inches, FullHD, 18:9
Processor Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506 GPU
Memory 64 GB expandable with microSD cards
Rear camera 48MP
Front camera 16MP
Drums 3,000mAh, Quick Charge 3.0
connectivity USB type C, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, Dual SIM, 4G
Others Rear fingerprint reader, 3.5 mm jack, Stereo speaker, Translucent back
Size 158 x 71.8 x 9.89mm
Weight 187.4g

Apart from Fairphone, there are companies like Apple that are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of their devices. But among all these companies Google seemed to have something brilliant to offer: Project Ara. This project with a science fiction name emerged in 2011 and was Google’s commitment to creating fully modular mobiles that we could build at will. The problem is that by 2015 we should have seen a revolutionary first model, although finally in 2016 the end of the project was announced.

Refurbished and second-hand mobiles: a sustainable alternative

Before buying a new mobile ask yourself the following question: Is it something you really need or just something you want? The current average life of a smartphone is between 1 and 2 years, but this does not mean that after two years the phone is useless.

Instead of buying a new phone, why not opt ​​for a second-hand or refurbished one? Not only will you pay less, but you will also reduce your carbon footprint. Refurbished or second – hand phones (purchased from trusted stores like Cash Converters) come with their own warranty and seal of quality , giving you the same reliability as brand new.

We hope that with this article you have learned something more about sustainable and ethical mobiles. At Cash Converters we are fully aware of the recycling, reuse and repair of all electronic devices, which is why we offer them to you with all possible guarantees. Join the sustainable mobile movement and give your next smartphone a second life!

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