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There are now more mobile devices than there are people in the world with an estimated 14.02 billion devices in 2020. There are also two billion computers in the world, including desktops and laptops. These numbers are expected to rise as cost of internet services and devices fall as market competition increases and growing numbers of people in the developing world gain access to the internet.
While the choices of device technology is limited given the market is dominated by billion-dollar brands such as Samsung, Apple, Huawei, LG and Lenovo, there is a growing number of smaller businesses producing ethical and sustainable phone cases, tablet cases and laptop sleeves to help consumers protect their investments.
If you’re in need of a case or cover to protect your digital devices and keen on one that has a lower environmental impact and doesn’t exploit communities, here are the brands and products to consider buying:
Founded in 2010 when a team of product designers, engineers and creatives sat around a kitchen table in Bells Beach, Australia, to reinvent the wallet, Bellroy has grown to become a globally recognised brand for its minimalist and functional design that strips out excess layers of fabric and simplifies “carry goods”, goods such as bags, phone and laptop cases, travel goods and work accessories.
Each Bellroy design is intentionally considered, ethically manufactured and made to last –with all products backed by a three-year warranty. The business has been recognised for limiting their impact on the environment, campaigning for the welfare of animals, and supporting effective charities and as such, became a certified B Corporation in 2015. Harnessing the latest innovations in sustainability, the brand’s latest collection features eco-tanned leathers, recycled fabrics and plant-based materials that combine canvas with recycled cotton offcuts for superior performance.
“We believe there is a much better way – for customers, and for the environment,” says CEO and founding designer, Andy Fallshaw. “So we’ll continue to design modern classics that remain relevant, resonate deeply, and only get better with age.”
Pela Case is the pioneer of the world’s first 100% biodegradable and compostable phone cases, launched by entrepreneur Jeremy Lang after witnessing firsthand the extent to which plastic pollution was affecting the natural environment on a family vacation in Hawaii in 2010. The phone cases are derived from flax straw “waste” and perform in the same way as other standard cases but can be thrown in the compost heap at the end of its life.
The eco-conscious Canadian startup is also a certified B Corporation, is Carbon Neutral certified and is a member of 1% for the Planet. It has also expanded its scope with new products, including Apple Watch Straps, AirPods/Pro Cases and 100% biodegradable sunglasses. From humble beginnings Pela now counts Jay-Z as an investor and global celebrities like Lady Gaga as just some of its fans.
The brand produces a broad range of cases in a variety of colours and patterns for Apple iPhones, Samsung, Huawei and Google Pixels phones to name a few.
PETA-approved Australian luxury vegan brand Sans Beast ethically manufactures design-forward padded laptop covers for 13″ and 15″ laptops, a work and study essential for the fashion conscious. Designed for versatility, you can attach a strap to wear it as a crossbody bag or carry it as you would a clutch. This slimline laptop sleeve is made from croc-embossed Eco PU (learn more about this vegan material here) and features the highest quality YKK metal zips and is packaged and delivered in an undyed, recycled cotton Sans Beast cover bag.
Belgium-based sustainable tech accessories brand Natch makes 100% compostable, eco-friendly iPhone cases and iPad covers for the modern woman. Free from toxic BPA, and made of starches, cereals and other renewable materials, this phone case is durable enough to protect your phone, is better for the planet than most alternatives and is stylish AF. At the end of life, products can be placed in a compost bin and in the right conditions, will take about three months to break down.
Shop Natch phone cases here. Get 15% from the total amount of your purchase when you use the code EWP at checkout.
Launched in 2016 by Los Angeles-based BIPOC founders and husband and wife duo, this newcomer to the luxury vegan bag brand makes designer quality cruelty-free bags at affordable prices. JW PEI uses high quality canvas, polyurethane, and certified fabric made from recycled plastic bottles in its modern minimalist designs. Its Quinn Phone Bag in a croc-embossed vegan leather is a style statement all on its own and comes in ivory, ice blue and dark green. Ideal for iPhone carrying vegan fashionistas heading to a festival or travelling and want a convenient way to carry their phones and bank and ID cards.
Popular Australian sustainable brand Uashmama specialises in the design and manufacture of washable paper products such as paper bags, laptop covers, laundry bags, baskets and other homewares. Its padded lightweight laptop sleeve features its signature washable paper and its minimalist design fits a 13″ laptop like the MacBook Air and Ultrabooks. Made in Tuscany, Italy from sustainable sources, the family business employs local artisans who sew the innovative paper bags. Comes in five different colours: black, camel, cashmere, quartz and cognac (pictured below).
[Note: These eco-friendly laptop sleeves are not vegan as they feature leather trimming and detail.]
More than an eco-friendly phone case, circular brand POPSICASE is made from 100% recycled and upcycled materials, fishing nets collected from the Mediterranean coast. Specifically, every POPSICASE phone case is made with 50g of discarded fishing nets and 20g of scrap aluminium.
This Spanish brand also supports talented artists by featuring their work in its phone cover designs. All covers are made in Barcelona and the business uses ‘clean shipping’ offsetting carbon emissions on all deliveries.
The company supports the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals focusing on the following goals: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water and Life on Land.
American fair-trade bag company Parker & Clay’s sophisticated leather laptop sleeves are the ideal accessory for the style-conscious entrepreneur. Crafted from premium Ethiopian full grain leather by skilled artisans that are paid fairly, the brand offers two styles. The ‘Presidio’ (starts US$48) is a slimline laptop cover that comes in two colours, rust brown and dark brown, and comes in two sizes modelled off a MacBook, 13″ and 15-16″. The ‘Sira’ laptop sleeve (US$100) is for a 13″ laptop and features a zipper close and interior pockets. All products come with a lifetime guarantee.
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Disclosure: Details are correct at time of publishing. This curated list does not fully take into account all the ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying particular attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. Click here to read more about our policies. Cover image via Natch.