The Fairphone[O] is a super-cool device which conscientiously sources its parts to avoid human exploitation and conflict minerals. But apparently this social consciousness in the supply chain cannot scale.

Which is really sad. Because the company’s inability to source enough material to even approach the public interest and demand suggests no other business should follow their practice – they will be in competition with Fairphone for what is clearly a very limited supply.

The first release was met with disappointment everywhere not in Europe—the product would not be sold elsewhere. When planning version 2 there was talk about a non-EU release. But at release Fairphone said not this time, but next time.

#FP3 is in pre-order, releasing ‘soon’. Fairphone will not be selling this one outside Europe either.

So a good idea runs aground on the reef of reality; despite massive demand, particularly in North America, the economies of scale invert.