Yesterday I was invited to join some friends visiting the Good Goods trade fair about sustainable consumption here in Hamburg. Next to the usual suspects such as clothing manufacturers, financial services vendors, energy traders, governmental organisations, publishers, food producers and about half a dozen different organic lemonade brands (samples, yeah!), my personal highlight was the tiny booth of PHeFE (de). Phefe is the ambitious project of researcher Susanne Jordan, aiming to create fair (as in fair-trade) alternatives for consumer electronics, starting with a self-designed computer mouse.
Phefe continues where Goliath corporations fail to deliver again and again, to go beyond labelling energy saving and recyclable devices as “Green IT” and make the entire production of electronics a process that respects basic human rights. As an example the documentary Blood in the Mobile illustrates vividly how mining minerals used in mobile phones is directly linked to local wars. But also sweatshop like labour conditions in product assembly lines are very common, with Foxconn (Apple, Asus, Nokia, Sony Ericsson) controversies unfortunately only being the tip of the iceberg.
The fair PC mouse is not yet available for purchase, but production is planned to start in 2011. So look forward to the Phefe mouse becoming what coffee was to fair-trade foods and hopefully initiating a paradigm shift in the consumer electronics sector. I will keep you updated!
Phefe and Blood in the Mobile are supported by Make IT Fair, a campaign by several consumer watchdogs and other NGOs – well worth checking out. Wow, things are happening! :)
Other Good Goods I like:
- Nabu environment phone tariff (de) – a bit expensive compared to other discounters, but a good idea, will stay with my current provider – English summary
- Biobob (de) - organic fruits crate to your office, met one of the founders, lovely people, will order there next time
- Next Hamburg (de) - participatory city planning, fresh approach, I filed a complaint about run-down cycle tracks
- Glore (de) – organic clothing, I got stuff from their Karoviertel shop a month ago