sustainable communicating

fairph00It is not as sophisticated as an iPhone but according to Wired and TheVerge, who have tested it over the years, it still works well; designed to last five years before returning it for recycling, it is the only fully repairable smartphone, as well as the most advanced on the road to social, environmental and economic sustainability. It's called Fairphone 2, it's on sale since the beginning of 2016 and from late 2017 it has also arrived in Italy's stores.
Fairphone 2 shows that you can make a smartphone not against but for something or someone: to make users aware of how a phone is made of and how it is produced and to show the consumer electronics industry that another way of doing business is possible. The whole story you can read herebelow.

10 out of 10 in repairability. "Ten out of ten" and "re-" are words that sound very sustainable, but perhaps are not very realistic in the era of planned obsolescence1
Yet they are really true, recent, and, moreover, they refer to a mobile phone, or rather to a smartphone, to be right; that's to say, to a flagship product of  some "use, consume and throws away"2 contemporary consumerism.

The iFixit team of technicians who have been dedicated for years to assessing how smartly phones can be repaired3 issued this verdict only once during their test4

And so, when the "judgment day" has actually arrived, Ifixit has awarded a 360° smart smartphone that is neither Apple nor Samsung, nor LG nor Sony & co.

This phone is simply a Fairphone 2, that  recently updated its Fairphone OS operating system based on Android 7.1 in June 2019.


For seven years, and with more than fifty people on staff, people at Fairphone, a social company5based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, are succeeding in doing several interesting things in those areas of activity that the multinationals companies manufacturing mobile phone company have not yet covered (or, most likely, do not want to cover at all).

Among other things, they started from the repairability of DIY phones and packaging, to continue with the analytical list of how much it costs to produce the smartphone, both from an environmental and an economic point of view; and, again, with interventions aimed at making some junctions in the value chain, trying to make telephone supply and recycling chains less critical and more sustainable for work.

And probably even more relevant and effective, they decided to tell it to consumers and industry by telling about the production and use of the smartphone that they designed and designed, and that today they sell all over the world6.

Because the project of their social enterprise is open and its roadmap does not have a prior defined goal7

Too much, you could argue, dont'you?
We are curious too. And so, in the light of the pattern that MadeinGaia has adopted8 to facilitate the understanding of how a low impact product is made and how it works, let's start to understand how the Fairphone 2 and Fairphone, the social enterprise behind this product, come out.

Who is and what does Fairphone, the social enterprise that coordinates the Fairphone2 project
fairphteamTeam 2018, Fairphone (credit: Fairphone)The words with which Fairphone presents itself on its official website are sufficiently clear and sound like this:

Fairphone is a social enterprise that is building a movement for a more equitable consumer electronics production. We reveal how supply chains work to understand how electronic products are built and build strong connections between people and their products.
We developed the Fairphone smartphone to help us tell a much bigger story. Our phone is used to discover production systems, to tackle difficult problems and to stimulate debate on what is really right. We are having a positive impact on the entire value chain starting from when minerals are extracted, passing through the design, production and life cycle of the telephone, and at the same time we are expanding the market of products that put ethical values first place. Together with our community, we are changing the way products are madei.”

Said, done: in 2103 the first Fairphone was sold and in December 2015 began shipments to Europe of the second series of the phone, the Fairphone210.

Meanwhile, the social company, through an eventually good press all around the world, its blog, social networks and its newsletter, continuously informs on the development of its initiatives on its phone and on the ways through which it is developing its production.

Transparency is a decisive factor in making clear and credible the commitments that Fairphone has decided to do and the entire online website is the main channel for telling about the product and about the social company.

Fairphone 2: not as sophisticated as an iPhone but still works well. For the rest it is far more...

HdBlog, one of the most well-known Italian online media among those covering the consumer electronics market, has tested the Fairphone 2: a text and a video were born to which we advise you to take a look at11 since they show how the phone essentially comes out well from the test.

For tech lovers, we will say only that Fairphone 2 is an Android smartphone, 5 "screen, dual-sim (few smartphones are) and with expandable memory, with a few more gems, like a custom interface, and a dedicated app to measure how invasive are the apps we download from Android for our privacy (by the way, Fairphone2 has Android 7.1 as standard, but with Jolla is studying how to bring also the Sailfish operating system on Fairphone12)

HDBlog is not alone to join to the an opinion on Fairphone that is almost unanimous all over the world: among the many, also the reviews of Wired, Newsweek and TheVerge are indeed certainly flattering13.

The point that all agree about, is that as for camera and perhaps for some user experiences, Fairphone2 is not as sophisticated as an iPhone, but it is still similar to a good mid-range product. To look closely, it must be said however, that precisely in relation to the smatphone conceived by Steve Jobs, Fairphone 2 can still boast a score on its side.

Although the LCA analysis14 which allowed to reveal thecarbon footprint15 of iPhone has arrived before that of the Fairphone2, available from November 201616, Fairphone is definitely ahead of everyone in a product conceptualization that involves extending the useful life of the phone as much as possible, recovering it and reusing it over an average period of three years17.

This way of doing is the fastest and the most immediately viable to contain the impact of the production of new smartphones on a global level18.
For which, after all, given the size of figures to deal with19, packaging also wants its part to reduce its impact on ecosystems and social systems.

It is true that many manufacturers have actually made progress in creating less unsustainable packages than twenty years or just ten years ago20, but here, however, Fairphone 2 made another good shot.
The process is much more than just sticking a product in a box. Shipping costs, packaging materials, carbon emissions and customer experience are just a few of the elements we needed to take into account.”

Fairphone martphones are sent from the Chinese factory by air, but are packaged in the Netherlands21.
This allows you to halve the carbon dioxide emissions because, for the same space, a double number of Fairphone 2s travel in the hold of an airplane; as for the packaging that reaches the end customer, an interesting innovation lies in the choice of a part of the packaging for shipping, since it is PaperFoam®, a low-impact bio material that can dissolve in water and compost22

A smartphone with full repairability

fairph06Repairable (Credit: Fairphone)Repairability, assistance and maintenance
"We want a smartphone with a life longer than average. We started by making the Fairphone easy to open and understand, with removable and replaceable components such as batteries. "

And so here we come to one of the pillars of the Fairphone project: repairability.

Even before design, this key feature derives from the conceptual choice of offering a telephone made with modules that can be easily put on and nevertheless easily removed.

Thus, Fairphone can be repaired and eventually replaced by everyone23.

Only a few microelectronic screwdrivers are needed and a little attention to be payed, but it can be done24
It is a general matter that, as for the other phone modules, including the screen, also applies to batteries, which are removable and replaceable and already available on linee25

In this game to increase the useful life of the phone, you can better appreciate how Fairphone play completely different from other phone manufacturers: having thought of the phone assembled in modules without using even a drop of glue but only through a game of joints and some screw26, in fact it makes simpler repairs and replacements much easier.

We must not forget, in fact, that one of the goals of this smartphone is to put a user who is not too smart to be able to order and replace a module that does not work by itself.

These are operations that do not last more than a few minutes27, but the gain is that in this way it will be possible to extend the life of the telephone as much as possible. Provided, of course, that spare parts are always and easily available.

fairph99enCredit: ifixit.comTherefore, thanks to the greater diffusion of the telephone, Fairphone have been working for some time to make their service network work well.
Assistance must always be able to at least send spare parts quickly wherever there is a request in Europe. And, not surprisingly, the people at Fairphone also sell a selection of spare parts in their online store: in fact, Fairphone also works with iFixit, for repair manuals and for online video tutorials and works as a center assistance for repair28.

Use it, reuse it and then, after at least five years, return it for recycling
“It’s critically important to consume as few phones as possible, to conserve the resources we have”29

That old saying speaking out that "what does not exist, it does not break" in the Fairphone project could sound like "what is not there does not pollute and should not be recycled; what's there we try to make the most of it before recycling it.”

Those of Fairphone must have thought this, since the phone, which also contains recycled metals and plastics, is not sold with the charger (which is still available as an accessory ) and that their staff is working intensively on a European and African scale for the correct and sustainable disposal of phones, not just Fairphone 2 or Fairphone 130.

Even if perhaps a solar charger would have completed the phone better, if anything, it is necessary to give credit to Fairphone for having rightly thought from the drawing table to equip the Fairphone 2 with a micro USB port, rightly supposing that many users already have at least one charger in micro USB format at home31In a word, the lesser the parts to build and assembly, the lesser the GHG emissions.

However, Fairphone 2 also uses recycled materials, metals and plastics.

The Dutch social enterprise declares that they use "post-consumer recycled polycarbonate for the protection of our phones, which means that the body of the phone (30% of the weight of the phone) will be made from recycled plastic, from waste plastic products, which means less carbon dioxide in the air during production. ”

The exponential expansion of the personal electronics market in the last twenty years has produced devastating environmental and social consequences that extend from production to the moment phones are unraveled. tablet, ipod and personal computer.

Not surprisingly, among the many made in recent years, a recent BBC survey titled “Where many of our electronic goods go to die”32 explaining well the risks of cancer and air, soil and water pollution connected to the wild and uncontrolled e-waste dump in Africa

Hence the need to make the phase of disposal as low as possible alsoe33.
Also for Fairphone 2, however, the time will come when it will no longer be possible to use: so what will happen?

It will happen that the phone, sold in Europe, can be picked up for free by Teqcycle, a German company from Munich that deals with B2B and with the public administrations for the collection, recycling and correct disposal of used phones.

This is the Recycling Program, in which Fairphone also involves those who do not own Fairphones at various levels34
The user can actually evaluate, thanks to an app on the Fairphone website, the residual value of his smartphone; hence, he/she has two possibilities: if the phone has a maximum of three years and a good residual value, the user can donate it to Fairphone that with the revenues of the resale through Teqcycle finances e-waste recovery projects in Africa35

Otherwise, if the phone is of too low a value or is more than three years old, Fairphone wave it to recycling companies subject to EU legislation UE36

In addition to creating this European circuit for the collection, recycling and responsible disposal of phones, Fairphone have gone even further.

In fact, thanks to the financing of part of the revenues of the previous Fairphone generation, in Africa a network has been created for the safe collection of mobile phones in disarmament and new initiatives are also planned for the 201637.

The hope is that creating a stable base of supporting customers will create the prerequisite for another important Fairphone step towards sustainability "Our long-term goal is to directly reuse the metals obtained from discarded phones in future generations of our Fairphone"38

Sustainability inside a Fairphone 2

fairph04Miners in Africa (credit: Fairphone)An intriguing example of embedded sustainability
We can also take the Fairphone 2 as an intriguing example of sustainability incorporated into a producto39.

Some pillars of the project and the product, such as the modules to be able to repair it quickly, can be seen and even touched; others, you can follow through the site and information campaigns of Fairphone. However, everyone is given a voice to make themselves heard.

It is, for example, the case of the critical hubs of the Fairphone2 supply chain and that have to do with its social sustainability, from the mines of Central Africa to the Chinese factories of Suzhou40

Africa: use of conflict-free minerals and sustainable mining supplies
The electronic parts that you can touch and that contain tin, coltan / tantalum, tungsten, gold have been built starting from an ethical and responsible supply network: that is, the money to buy these 4 minerals does not end up in the coffers of local militias and lords of various war. And from here on some laundering laps41

The active and participatory lines of action on Fairphone's own supply chain have instead articulated them as follows: on the one hand it is present in first person initiatives to reduce the environmental and social impact of mining activities towards miners and local communities, and / or to reduce child labor and dangerous work, on the other hand it works on a mineral tracking system up to foundries identified in its supply chain42.
And, a first indirect result of the Fairphone action has found an echo in the news that Apple is moving in the same direction43

China: production in factories with more protected work

fairph05Fairphone 2 is produced in Chinese factories where relatively advanced labor relations systems have been activated. Even if I don't think we can talk about collective bargaining as a next step, Fairphone collaborators have physically promoted initiatives in China on democracy in the factory, trade union representation, workers' councils, and / or the improvement of worker-management communication44.

Thus, for example, initiatives to improve working conditions have resulted in a project for wages or the creation of funds for workers45

A question of value, the price

the price and the guarantees: too much or too little?

At more than 500 euros, it cannot be said that Fairphone 2 is a cheap phone (in truth, not even fair trade products were 20 years ago, at least in Italy).

So if we stop to consider only the price, well then the game would already be closed.

The point is another, though: if we intend to choose sustainably we must think sustainably

te46. So, there are other features of the phone to ponder, in addition to the price itself, as Newsweek rightly points out in its review of the beginning of the year on Fairphone 247

For example, we have to think that we buy the phone because it lasts 5 years and we must not forget that a footprint diluted on a luster is much better than one of three years of averagea48,
And, again, that in the event of an out-of-warranty repair we will not have to pay for the assistance, as, as the Hdblog review also shows, a broken screen or exhausted battery we can receive them at home and replace them by ourselves (remembering that broken pieces must be disposed of at municipal collection centers and not thrown away in the garbage). The price we pay, then, it should not be forgotten that a greater slice goes to the share of added value that is the job, to those who actually produces Fairphone 2 .
In other words, of the 530 euros that your smartphone costs, Fairphone assure us that a part ends up in better wages and salaries for those who build individual telephone modules and finance corporate welfare programs

The demonstration of what Fairphone claims is provided through an infographic that explodes the value of the smartphone expressed by the sale price in all its cost components and finally by profit per unit sold.

Cropped on the experience of fair trade (which happens to be born in the Netherlands) it is a good way to give voice to those parts of the product that would otherwise be difficult to associate with sustainability
In summary Fairphone informs that 9 euros per smartphone is the figure that represents how much profit the sale of a Fairphone 2 generates before paying taxes (ebit).
Upstream of those 9 euros (which then come, by status of social enterprise engaged in further investments)
in a sort of BOC, Bill of Cost, we find that the largest part of the sale price finances the production of the telephone, that another large portion is taken by taxes and payments to intermediaries and that what remains is used to finance the operational management of Fairphone and its new projects.
In short, an additional tool in the hands of consumers / supporters of Fairphone to be able to decide more analytically for sustainability. And finally, we must not forget that we pay more also to ensure sustainability of sustainability: spare parts must be built, and stored and then distributed to users, and to do this it is necessary to create a support network which obviously is not free of charge.

There is still a lot to do, but this is definitively a good start

fairph01Credit: FairphoneThere is no shortage of obstacles in Fairphone's road to ever greater sustainability.
There is an interesting analysisis49 developed by SOMO, The Center for Research on Multinational Corporations, an independent Dutch organization that monitors corporate social responsibility practices that tried to build a sustainability profile for the Fairphone 2 based on a series of multiple parameters.

Very realistically, Fairphone itself is the first to admit that today, today, a completely sustainable telephone unfortunately does not yet exist.Just to say one, in fact, of the thirty minerals that make up the raw material of which a telephone is made, only 4 at the moment are traceable from the mine to the iron and steel plantsci50.

It is true that Fairphone has recently achieved the goal of having fair and solid gold in the Fairphone2, but the road to go is still long51

According to the indications of SOMO, which are valid suggestions for the entire industry, there are still spaces for Fairphone to improve52 to move towards greater sustainability

First of all, recyclability should be designed from the beginning53.
Then, in terms of social sustainability, it is the duty of companies to inform and properly train their employees to make a responsible and controlled use of chemicals during the production process as well as to ban the use of benzene or n-hexane at all levels supply chain.
As well as, then, to implement organizational procedures to make complaints effective at the factory level.

And again, from companies that want to create sustainable products, fair behavior is expected with respect to the duty to pay taxes, avoiding tax avoidance practices, even if formally legal.

Fairphone is also awaiting these points: if in the next months will be able to establish records here too, there will probably be some space to make the smartphone industry a little less lazy than the sustainability issues54.

Does the Fairphone experience teach anything?

Apple and the others have much to learn (assuming they are interested) even on the signs of sustainability to be incorporated into their smartphones.

For example, if a social enterprise like Fairphone succeed in introducing good practices of social sustainability, such as corporate collective bargaining in a Chinese company, perhaps Apple, if they wanted to, would be able to do the same on 10 or a hundred of their suppliers and if Samsung should have moved concretely to eliminate toxic substances from their production cycles which, by their own admission, may have caused malign tumors to their employees,

Given that, as the Fairphone innovators themselves admit, the smartphone entirely sustainable is still far away, this does not mean that consumer users do not have to demand from the industry all possible efforts to get there.

"Saepe olet pecunia", this must be timely to let  Mr. Tim Cooks and his colleagues know (pardon, friends ;-))) And Fairphone, without pointing the finger at anyone in particular, has found a physical and visible way to remind us.




A text written and directed ;) by Paolo Falcone | Editor for MadeinGaia @2019


Notes and sources (from the origina italian version)

1 See the case of Apple, which in 2016 publicly stated that its smartphones are designed to last up to 36 months
Which is then called planned or planned obsolescence or average life of the phone on which to estimate the duration of the life cycle of the product, does not change much .... three years are however a temporal goal officially proposed by Apple.
In fact, the so-called programmed obsolescence cannot have space in a sustainable product:


una media di 24/30 mesi per considerare un telefono out

3 Therefore, for a certain reason also sustainable, not forgetting that the longer a product lasts, the fewer resources will be needed to produce a new one, and therefore less input into water, air and land will be necessary.

4 The complete teardown test is on iFixit

5 Social company, but not in the sense of a company that is active and successful on social media, as Forbes intends it, but in the sense of social enterprise as defined in EU law

a trifle of difference ...

6 Through their online shop, but for some months now also through telephone companies like in Austria and now directly through the retailers: on the phone as a means of telling, see the Fairphone website

7 Raod map of Fairphone project: see

8 See the how of MadeInGaia's work on



11 The review of hdblog is on

12 The specifications of the Fairphone 2 are on
About Jolla and Fairphone

13 For reviews, here are the links

14 Ispra:  LCA

15 A favore del primo, non è tanto sulla quantità di CO2 equivalente emessa che Fairphone

16  Da fonte Fairphone lo studio Lca del Fairphone2 è attualmente in corso  “Talking about CO2 reduction is a bit tricky without having the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) completed for Fairphone 2 yet, as emissions also heavily depend on weight. We’ll communicate more detailed information as soon as the Fairphone 2 LCA is ready.”, poi nel novembre 2016

17 In effetti, la possibilità di ottenere valori univocamente determinati in termini di carbon footprint per gli smartphone è ampiamente dibattuta tra gli scienziati ed i tecnici: si veda per tutte, in questo senso, le ricerche, ad esempio dell'Università del Surrey, Suckling et al. Redefining scope: the true environmental impact of smartphones? in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1181-1196

18 Zink et al. “Comparative life cycle assessment of smartphone reuse: repurposing vs. refurbishment” in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment Volume 19 Number 5

19 Projections on the data of recent years estimate the new smartphones that will be purchased in the coming months at 1400/1500 million e So as climate change evidences, smartphones are ubiquitous, engaging and able to transform change and transform us (make us change): so the Economist titled some time ago about the increasingly important role of smartphones in the daily lives of our lives.

20 Samsung and Apple for example, but also Sony are all aligned in declaring to have decreased the size of their packaging in recent years: see for example Apple


22 Made in the Netherlands from starch, natural fibers and water, PaperFoam® is very lightweight, as well as recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. In addition, it was easy to customize the shape of the packaging, as it is created using an energy-efficient, low-pressure injection molding technique. Plus we also thought it looked really cool!


24 But as iFixit has shown in its traditional test on the repairability of smartphones, it has fared very well by deserving a 10 and recognizing how the phone is intentionally designed and built to last for at least five years.

25 Batteries, for example, are available for purchase at around 20 euros

26 See Ifixit, about Fairphone




30 Source Fairphone:

“Fairphone has made a cable charger optional for consumers, to reduce unnecessary waste and greenhouse gas emissions by giving people a cable that they might already have in their homes.68 Fairphone uses a universal type charger.

Comment by SOMO: one could call the charger smart in the sense that the choice during the design for the micro USB port is smart, because many people already have a charger that fits this port and they don’t need to buy another. The fact that the charger is not included automatically is progressive. However, it is not a smart charger in the sense that is a solar or eco-friendly charger, which is the used criterion.”



34 With the Recycling Program, we want to make it as easy as possible for Fairphone owners and consumers in general to send back their old, used phones for reuse or responsible recycling.

35 "We consider high-value phones to be working smartphones not older than three years. These phones will be checked, refurbished (if possible) and then sold by Teqcycle to professional buyers in the European or other continents second-hand market. The revenues will be used to support the costs of the Recycling Program itself – the remaining funds (if any) after sustaining this recycling program will be redistributed towards Fairphone’s social and environmental projects, like our e-waste program in Ghana. In



38  Our long-term goal is to directly reuse the metals obtained from scrap phones in future generations of our Fairphone

39 On the point of incorporated or intangible sustainability, see more on forthcoming issues on madeingaia

40 The Chinese suppliers are more than one: as in the case of the Fairphone 1, Fairphone on their website have also published the related list






46 See some ideas on how to choose sustainably directly on MadeInGaia


48 The longer the use time of a product, the lower the relative impact of its carbon footprint, among other things





53 J. Chapman Emotionally Durable Design, Taylor & Francis, 2013

e William McDonough Michael Braungart Cradle to Cradle : Remaking the Way We Make Things Macmillan, 2010

54 In April 2016, only then, Apple declared what it is doing to avoid using conflict-minerals in its products.

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Stilo green office compostable 121878 696x522

From Piedmont, once the core of the italian automobile industry, a pen devoted to ecology and sustainability was born. Made of bioplastic and thus compostable, it is designed and assembled not far from Turin, in a factoriy resemblying the old fashioned, but still alive, way of manufacturing cars: the assembly line.

Surprise! Italy still manufacture ecological and sustainable pens, with a low environmental and social impact. Being manufactured according to ISO 9001: 2015, ISO 14001: 2015 and a company Ethical Code, they are compostable and biodegradable, made in Piedmont1 Region, North West Italy, and are called Stilolinea.

Destined to be used by businesses and professionals as an intelligent way to advertising2, the Stilolinea low-impact pens have such a history behind them that yu can easily define them as products owning an acceptable sustainability rate.

A bioplastic pen, biodegradable, compostable and, moreover, possible. Now.

Environmental sustainability is also a question of components: thus, in a sort of absolute premiere in this industry, for their pens Stilolinea decided to start from an unusual material.

Polylactic acid, PLA, "is a transparent biodegradable plastic, nowadays produced from cane sugar or glucose .... Not only does it resemble traditional plastic in its characteristics, but it can also be easily processed with already prepared standard equipment for the plastic ": this is how GalateaBioTech3, a startup of the University of Milano-Bicocca that studies and proposes PLA polymers as an alternative to traditional polyesters, introduce PLA on their official site.


Not by chance, therefore, in the Piedmont factory the production processes shaping Stilolinea low-impact pens begin precisely from this plastic polymer derived from plants, thus from renewable resources4 .

stilolinea04The result is snap-on and ballpoint pens equipped with refills which, due to their physical characteristics, are not only different from similar plastic pens made from petroleum, but, moreover, they are biodegradable, and above all they can be transformed in compost5.Here is a typically sustainable benefit then.

In this sense, exactly just like Ecozema dishes, glasses and cutlery6 and other bioplastic artifacts, the Stilolinea "ecological" pens are a realistic answer to the same problem: how overcoming the disposable that degrades in hundreds of years with new objects that indeed degrade in a decomposition process that lasts from a few months to a few years7 

Being exclusively manufactured by8 Stilolinea, Vegetal Pen and Ingeo Pen biodegradable and compostable ballpoint pens are available in Green Office, Clear and Neutral versions.
stilolineaVegetal Pen Green Office (fonte: Vegetal Green Office pen, but the same applies to the other bioplastic ones, it is totally made in PLA, lime-colored refill including9 :

Vegetal Green Office pen is designed for the office, has a “satin effect” lime colored frame and offers institutional refills in blue, black, green and red inks, which matches the color of the head-clip.
An important detail for the advertising use of the pen, in the design phase of the product the frame was designed to offer the maximum possible area to the logos and to the customers' payoffs.

Larger than the pens in bioplastic, therefore, but not only: because in the Stilolinea range also two pens made with recycled plastic, Eco-Baron and Eco-Ciak, alongside biodegradable and compostable pens10.  along the production line of the Piedmont factory.

A low impact, high quality production all made and certifiedin Italy

Who knows, maybe it's the genius loci11, but the organization of Stilolinea's production line smells like a car factory line.

As often happens in the car industry, at Stilolinea they rely on designers to carve out the product concept from a design: then, once the design is approved, the ball goes into production. And here we come to the point.

At a certain extent, in Stilolinea the same thing happens, since the design of a new pen is curated in Italy by Italian industrial designers and then the industrialization of the pen is developed in house within the company and at least vertically integrated.

stilolinea qualita6La produzione di Vegetal Pen (fonte:, what matters the most in terms of low social and environmental impact is that all this takes place under the umbrella of standardized production processes under ISO9001: 2015 and ISO14001: 2015, a Code of Ethics and, last, a certification that part of the energy that feeds the production comes from renewable source12 

In fact, in San Mauro Torinese, those who work at Stilolinea manufacuring lines take care of building the molds and molding the plastic material; they follow  the production of the refills and the assembly of the pens performed with completely automatic machines; and finally do the final test.
In this sequence of steps, the assembly of the pen and the final quality control on the line are two aspects that Stilolinea considers fundamental13.

In fact, the perceived quality of the product does not depend only on the quality of the plastic printing but also on how the pen appears when it is assembled and above all how it writes.
In this case the tip of the refill (available through an Italian supplier), must work at its best to avoid smudging and to marry the refill perfectly. Pre-assembly of the refill and assembly of the various pieces of the pen must therefore be synchronized, whether it is produced by order or by warehouse, but it is the quality control on the line and in the end it must work.

And this is all the more important, since it is demonstrated o14 now that the expectations of those who choose to buy a sustainable product are higher than those of those who buy products that are not low impact.

Notes and sources (from the original italian version)

  1.  More precisely, the factory is located in the province of Turin, in San Mauro Torinese, in what was once, from 50's to 90's, considered the pen district. Aurora, pens, and Carioca, markers, come from this story, as can be read in the fine article by Federica Calosso on |back to text
  2. And that without spending more, they want to make a gesture of sensitivity towards the environment, as explained by those who produce them | back to text
  3.  The link is, and in general | back to text
  4. P More precisely, Stilolinea sources point out: "This resin - produced by the US company NatureWorks - can be biocomposable, ie after its degradation in industrial composting conditions it dissolves in nature, partially reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere. With this company a close working relationship has developed which has led to the use of a name patented by the same NW - "Ingeo" - for the launch of the second Stilolinea compostable ballpoint pen. The low environmental impact deriving from the use of NatureWorks PLA (Polylactic Acid) resin is documented by the results of specific analyzes carried out by the German certification body DIN CERTCO. " | back to text

5. from Stilolinea source “Compostability is the ability of an organic material to turn into compost through the composting process. It is a "superior" level of degradation with respect to biodegradability. A product is compostable when, in addition to being biodegradable, it must do so in a certain period of time, under certain conditions and giving rise to new raw materials that can improve soil quality and support plant growth, the so-called compost. The mature compost resembles a fertile soil and due to its wealth of nourishing organic substances is used as a natural fertilizer. | back to text

6. See "Ecozema dishes, glasses and cutlery in bioplastic and compostable: sustainable product = sustainable enterprise" in | back to text

  1.  Again, I recommend reading | back to text
  2.  | back to text
  3. | back to text
  4. e | back to text
  5. Piedmont and the Motor Valley in Emilia Romagna have been and partly remain the places of choice for the Italian car industry| back to text
  6. The entire production of the pens takes place within the 9000 square meters of the modern factory in San Mauro Torinese.http: // Company Policy Quality management system ISO 9001: 2015 Management system environmental ISO 14001: 2015 Code of Ethics Certifications of energy from renewable sources the energy used for the production of our promotional pens also derives from renewable sources, to limit the use of fossil fuelsi. | back to text

13from Stilolinea statement:

"Assembly: manual and automated
The pen assembly department uses special final assembly machines and refill pre-assembly plants that use a tip purchased from a leading Italian company recognized worldwide. Each pen is subjected to an accurate writing test to verify its quality.

Quality check
“Stilolinea pays particular attention to the final inspection of its products.
Once the assembly is complete, in fact, all the pieces are tested, while a visual inspection examines the possible presence of defects on the product. The scrupulous control of each pen and the certifications for the environment and for the quality obtained have meant that the company (have) recognized in Italy and abroad as a manufacturer of exclusively high quality pens” | back to text

14. An IPSOS research for the CSR show in Milan last fall confirmed that potential consumers of sustainable products are much more careful and demanding in exchange for their willingness to pay a price-premium (not more than 10% on average, however): e  | back to text

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refitrangeBorn at the dawn of 2020, there is now a new sustainable and ecological paper that succeeded in renewing the ancient bond between sheep and paper: this time, however, without lambs and sheep risking their lives1!

This brand new paper we are talking about is named Refit.

 It's produced by Favini2, who found a way to invent and then insert among the cellulose fibers of a Refit paper sheet a new fiber that saves from the landfill the scraps and waste disposed after the carding, spinning and weaving of wool and cotton; being these, all made by Italian companies3.

Refit paper then closes the circle of its sustainability4 by adding to the 15% natural fiber from wool and cotton, another 40% of post-consumer recycled cellulose fiber certified FSC and a remaining 45% of virgin cellulose fibers, also FSC certified.

So, sheeps are eventually safe. And Favini take a further step towards the circular economy5 through a beautiful and precious kind of paper that, as well as their previous paper, Crush of 2010 and Remake of 20156 , is committed to being another ecological and sustainable one.

lanapecora01Credit: WikipediaToo much? As a first step, let's go into some first details and let's see some facts and figures.

A paper with the right "handfeel"

With no prejudice to the performance in terms of strength and durability of the paper itself, out of question at these levels, Favini have also worked on the "emotional" aspect of perceived quality7 of their new paper.

As only looking and touching the Refit card, just like it was with the Remake paper8, it is also a pleasure for the eyes and the fingers, since, as pointed out in Favini "Refit returns the distinctive tactile and visual experience typical of natural fiber garments". Or to put it like a tailor, their "handfeel", in fact.

And always with regard looking and feeling, Refit comes in five colors, Blue and Black for the Refit Wool line, and White, Pearl and Gray for the Refit Cotton variants. Its available basis weights range from 120 to 360 g / m2 and there are also coordinated envelopes. 

Refit paper: for who and for what?


In Favini's mind, Refit is the ideal solution to develop all kind of sustainable packaging solutions that are gradually proving indispensable, not only for those companies of the fashion system that have decided to seriously turn towards sustainability9 , but also for the remaining of the textile and clothing industry, which until now has been struggling to understand the strategic value of what is at stake

Not only that, the Refit paper is also very good for all kind of company publishing activities aimed to any company that has proven serious, when it comes to environmental and social responsibility10

Is Refit a sustainable and ecological product?
The point to emphasize is that Refit was carved out, thanks to an ongoing commitment to sustainability laying on 25 years of experience behind.  We have to remind that the first examples in using effectively fibers complementary to those in cellulose inside Favini paper go back to Carta Alga, a paper that in the first half of the 90s used algae collected in the Venice lagoon. At the time, this was a world premiere.

Replicating the model widely tested first with Crush and then with Remake, also with Refit Favini proposes a state-of-the-art paper with certified a low impact, because this new paper too is the point at which all the material and immaterial resources that company and Favini's workers every day devote to ecology and sustainability; therefore, not surprinsigly, all production and management processes are included and involved.

Shiro Crush Remake RefitFonte: FaviniTo begin with, that means that Refit "incorporates" clean and also self-produced electricity, thanks to two hydroelectric plants owned by Favini, which feeds Favini's Italian factories11 by certification EKOenergy12.

As for water consumption, the water foootprint by Refit is also less deep, since the use of this resource, crucial for a paper mill, has been at the center of continuous investments for at least a decade.

To better understand this, well water is used for industrial processes, all possible environmental effects of industrial processing residues that require water are monitored upstream and all possible ways of recycling are found13. About the outcome of such a commitment Favini expressly inform on their official website

Finally, in terms of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, it is a positive fact that despite the increase in production, Favini managed to make Refit to be CO2 neutral, generally limiting and optimizing the use of methane for cogeneration, and resorting to the compensation of its own emissions by supporting localized development projects in countries on their way to industrialization that have the objective of cutting out very high quantity of CO2 shares14 , so that they can be redistributed at fair prices to the companies that request them.

With regard to work procedures, its management and production processes are subject to the standards established by the ISO as for quality certifications (9001), the protection of the health of its workers (18001) and the protection of the natural environment that could be damaged during their production processes (14001). Not only, however: the EMAS scheme, one of the most rigorous, is fully followed.
Again, Refit is entirely produced in Italy inside an Italian supply chain and is a 100% recyclable and biodegradable paper. 

So, to go back to the core question inside this paragraph, the answer is that, yes, the Refit card is a more ecological and sustainable product than others, because in the current state of things it is a product that offers transparent information that will certainly make its sustainability profile.

On the subject of the circular economy we have often witnessed a flood of words in recent years:
from Favini and from all those producers who do not do it by following a momentary trend, can come solid, concrete and above all, already available facts and products.
As the case of Refit shows well, also a smart paper can help textiles and clothing in realizing their promises to create an increasingly responsible, ecological and, ultimately, sustainable fashion.


Words and notes by Paolo Falcone, editor for MadeinGaia| paolofalcone(at), 


Sources and notes (from the original italian text)

1. Parchment, the precious paper obtained from sheep skin, see also |back to text

2. Favini is a historical paper mill (work in Rossano Veneto, Vicenza, from the times of the Republic of Venice) as well as one of the most famous brands in the Italian paper industry: |back to text

3. From Favini source, according to Emas certifications |back to text

4. On the circle or the cycle and its symbolic power see also Biedermann, 1999, Enciclopedia dei Simboli, Garzanti | back to text

5. Useful on the point  | torna al testo

6. | tback to tex

7. On the concept of perceptible and perceived quality, for everyone, in Italian, Galgano, La qualità totale, Sole24Ore |back to text

8. Ibidem  |back to text

9. See. as an example in italian, a database portal dedicated to producers and techniques for sustainable fashion promoted by Blumine Srl |back to text

10. The two mirrors of sustainability that form a single body, one of which cannot ignore the other: in their presence it makes sense to start talking about productivity of capital and labor, as ISTAT points out, report 2019 on the state of the country |back to text

11. From Favini source: there are a couple of small power plants that exploit the wealth of waterways in the area around Rossano Veneto, which is a few kilometers from the Brenta river and the Grappa massif. |back to text

12. |back to text

13. Source: Favini: |back to text

14. Favini works on GHG compensation quotas in two ways: o invests in development projects for reforestation in Madagascar  or, as in the case of Remake and then Refit, in wind farms (in Turkey in this case)  |back to text

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