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Environmental Impacts of Modular Design - Life Cycle Assessment of the Fairphone 3

: Proske, Marina; Clemm, Christian; Sánchez Fernández, David; Ballester Salvà, Miquel; Jügel, Marvin; Kukuk-Schmid, Heike; Nissen, Nils F.; Schneider-Ramelow, Martin

Fulltext (PDF; - Gesamter Tagungsband)

Schneider-Ramelow, Martin ; Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration -IZM-, Berlin; TU Berlin:
International Congress "Electronics Goes Green 2020+". Proceedings : The Story of Daisy, Alexa and Greta, September 1, 2020, Berlin, Germany, virtual
Stuttgart: Fraunhofer Verlag, 2020
ISBN: 978-3-8396-1659-8
International Congress "Electronics Goes Green 2020+" <2020, Online>
Conference Paper, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IZM ()

The Fairphone 3 is one of the few modular smartphones on the market today. The design approach allows users to easily repair their device and thereby extend its lifetime. Previous life cycle assessments (LCA) of smartphones have shown that lifetime extension is the most effective strategy to reduce their overall impact. As the environmental impacts of smartphones are predominantly associated with the manufacturing phase, repair and continued use after a hardware failure can avoid the environmental burden that would result from manufacturing a new device. However, implementing modular design does produce additional impact. The results of the LCA study presented in this paper show that the initial manufacturing impacts are indeed slightly increased due to the modular design. However, this can easily be outweighed when the use phase is extended through repair. The modularity overhead has also decreased compared to the Fairphone 2 due to a new connector design.