Bookmarked You can’t buy an ethical smartphone today (Engadget)
Right now, it's impossible to buy a smartphone you can be certain was produced entirely ethically. Any label on the packaging wouldn't stand a chance of explaining the litany of factors that go into its construction. The problem is bigger than one company, NGO or trade policy, and will require everyone's effort to make things better.
Daniel Cooper explains the challenges associated with buying an ethical smartphone. He touches on the challenges associated with the construction (often in the Shenzhen province) and the number of rare materials involved.

Devices vary, but your average smartphone may use more than 60 different metals. Many of them are rare earth metals, so-called because they’re available in smaller quantities than many other metals, if not genuinely rare.

There is also limitations on the ability to recycle or refurbish devices, with significant challenges associated with replacing parts. This is also something that Adam Greenfield discusses in his book Radical Technologies.

via Douglas Rushkoff