Kwame Ferreira is doing to sustainability what Stella Mccartney did to vegetarianism.
The ethical digital brand developer, partner of Lily Cole (the pair have a daughter, two year old Wylde Cole Ferreira) and CEO of innovation company Impossible is a leading figure in the 'conscious consumerism' movement.
For Kwame, it's 'sexy' to be mindful with the stuff we buy and use, but not to get hung up on guilt with the inevitables.
"What do I consume? I consume bicycles, skateboards, holidays. What I do is look at what I consume daily, weekly, and make an audit of my life and the products I consume, looking at alternatives in a way that doesn't hinder me, but makes me feel better about what I consume," he says.
After a fairly 'hippy' upbringing, and having studied in Lisbon, Berlin and Boston, Kwame says that the only thing that he could rebel against growing up was his parents' lack of awareness when they consumed. Although it may not yet be a priority to the majority of the consumer population, he's sure that soon, it will be.
Back in 2013, he began working with social enterprise Fairphone on their development of a mobile phone that had minimal environmental impact – a bold move in an industry in which ethics of where raw materials come from and how the people who make them are treated don't tend to be spoken about.
Having commented in the past over the trend of 'planned obsolescence' in tech,(the idea that products are created to need replacing after a finite amount of time, to keep sales going) Kwame tells us that a key aim of Fairphone was to ensure that they provided a mobile phone service that wasn't just ethical in its origin, but in how it was run.
A central element of Fairphone is its transparent and close relationship with its users, with extensive plans in place for repairs that are straightforward for the customer to access.
"Everything we own leaves a hole in the planet somewhere. Most mobile phones are fuelling a war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, due to a mineral needed for manufacture. And over four years, Fairphone went from being an idea to turning over 250 million euros," he says.
#Eyes On Cobalt:⠀ ⠀ This is what freshly mined cobalt looks like after it has been washed. The photo was taken on our April trip to Katanga, DRC.⠀ ⠀ Our current inquiry into cobalt is the result of our Materials Report earlier in the year. In it, we assessed many minerals present in smartphones for their risks and challenges. Read up on it via: frphn.co/matrep⠀ ⠀ If you want to know more about our April trip, check out frphn.co/DRCBlog
Kwame's philosophy is that the biggest obstacle to being conscious is the need to establish an understanding relationship between yourself and what you're buying. Like with most relationships, it needs to be reciprocal. This especially applies to our relationships with our mobile phones, laptops, and any digital kit really.
"Digital products are designed to rob you of your time. People are seeking more introspection and meaning in their lives because of it. You are being consumed by others through digital media, so it's important to be conscious of that and make time for yourself."
The majority of us are living always connected lifestyles. Constant messages to reply to, social media pings, the carousel between work and social lives and home. Kwame reckons it's important to call time on these things, to take a break.
"It's very easy to get wrapped up in WhatsApp messages, Facebook posts and news to read. I learned to slow down and create rules for myself the hard way, after burning out a couple of years ago," he says. "Now, I'm much more aware of not overdoing it and doing things that recharge and nurture me regularly."
The overall message is simple. Think before you buy, use devices without them running your life and become habitual in thinking about the journey that new things have taken to land in your hands.
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