Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The World’s First USB Cable to Use Fairtrade Gold: ‘A More Responsible Alternative’


Syllucid’s Origin Collection is the first USB cable range in the world to support Fairtrade gold.

Sustainable Dutch tech startup Syllucid has launched a USB cable range featuring Fairtrade Gold. The cables in the new Origin collection, which includes USB-A to C, C to C, and A to Lightning cables, are designed to be durable, ethical, and environmentally friendly — aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of consumer electronics.

Choosing better electronics

Syllucid’s cables incorporate Fairtrade Gold in a move to ensure safer gold mining practices, fair wages for miners, environmental protection around mining sites, and reforestation efforts in the Peruvian Amazon. The company says its use of recycled plastics and metals in manufacturing results in an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to cables made from new materials.

Syllucid  USB cable
Syllucid has launched the first USB cable made with fairmined gold | Courtesy

The Origin cables are manufactured in a carbon-neutral facility using 100 percent certified recycled plastics (PET, nylon, TPE), 100 percent certified recycled and carbon-neutral tin solder wires, and 30 percent certified recycled aluminum.

The materials can be recycled repeatedly, supporting a circular economy, but Syllucid hopes to increase the lifespan and decrease the need for recycling. It designed the cables for longevity, with woven braiding, bend protectors, thicker conductor wires, a reinforced core, gold-plated connectors, and the ability to withstand more than 10,000 bends. The products also come with a five-year warranty.

Fabian Hühne, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Syllucid, says that “starting with the everyday charging cable, people can make a more positive impact on our world by choosing better electronics.”

Fairmined gold standards

According to the World Economic Forum, in 2021, 2.8 billion tonnes of metals were mined worldwide. And with nearly 7 billion smartphone users expected in 2023, the demand for new technology continues to grow. Syllucid says it is essential to improve metal mining practices and utilize recycled metals to minimize environmental damage.

The Alliance for Responsible Mining says 50 percent of the world’s gold mines are operating unethically. “The main source of mercury pollution in the world is poor mining activity. When we remove these practices from the artisanal communities, even though their impact is small, it still helps,” Jonathan Gonzalez, ARM market development manager, said in a statement.

Last year, Dillon Gage, one of the largest precious metals wholesale trading firms in the world, partnered with ARM as part of the Fairmined initiative with the goal of bringing more Fairmined gold mainstream.

“The detrimental issues of the mining industry is the use of mercury, child labor and carbon dioxide emissions,” Gonzalez said. “It isn’t easy to measure carbon dioxide emissions, but everyone wants to be carbon neutral. But it is hard for these mining communities when they just want to bring food to their tables. Fairmined Standards help them do that while operating in a fashion that addresses these social and environmental issues.”

woman mining
Gold mining in Burkina Faso | Courtesy Olliver Gerard for CIFOR via Flickr

For Syllucid, the idea for improved USB cables was born when founders Hühne and co-founder Andrew Appleby, who met while working at sustainable smart phone brand Fairphone, became frustrated with the negative impact of the electronics industry and the prevalence of low-quality cables. They recognized that longer-lasting electronics and using recycled materials are key to reducing the industry’s environmental footprint.

“We are dedicated to producing fair, sustainable and long-lasting electronic products to reform the consumer tech industry,” the company says.

The founders discovered that many people are unaware of the large environmental and social issues hidden within complex supply chains, as well as the material origins and climate impact of electronics. Syllucid’s innovative products aim to bridge this gap, offering consumers a responsible alternative in a market saturated with environmentally damaging technology.

Hühne says Syllucid wants to connect people to how their products are made “and give them a more responsible alternative in a market segment full of tech that’s un-loved and unsustainably produced.”

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