the project

Let’s make consumer electronics more sustainable!

BuyAware is a student-run organisation based in Switzerland. Our vision is to improve work conditions and decrease ecological impact in the electronics sector. Our goal is to shift the industry towards fair production conditions and a circular, sustainable economic model.

To make this dream come true, we created a rating to rank smartphones. It informs consumers about the ethical and ecological background of products so that they are able to make more responsible buying decisions. We do this by rating devices according to 6 different criteria, ranging from worker rights to carbon footprint and performance. Our rating is a tool designed to empower consumers! We hope to influence their attitude towards sustainable electronics thus pushing innovators to create more green and ethical products.

How did the project evolve?

  • 2019 – At the crossroads
    Dec Design and release of our new website.
    Apr BuyAware presents at an event at EPFL in Lausanne.
    Mar BuyAware participates in the Sustainability Week Switzerland. In Berne, a presentation is held with Shiftphone Switzerland while our ratings were shown in main building of ETH Zurich. At the Sustainable University Day, BuyAware hosts a workshop table to get more project feedback.
    Feb Release of a video illustrates BuyAware’s activities. At the Activity Fair organised, BuyAware can reach out to students with information on sustainable electronics.
    Jan BuyAware holds a general assembly proposing the formation of a bigger board and specific work groups.

  • 2018 – A year to remember
    Dec Financial support is granted by Stiftung Mercator Schweiz, Global Changemakers and the U Change programme by swissuniversities.
    Nov BuyAware organises a movie-night, showing the movie „Death by Design“.
    BuyAware takes part in a Poster-Session for the Winners of the BOOST Sustainability Challenge by the University of Basel.
    In order to promote synergies within the field of sustainable electronics, BuyAware organises a networking event which is attended by 10 different organisations at the University of Berne.
    Oct BuyAware presents its project at the University of Berne through BENE, the association for sustainable development.
    BuyAware is selected for the Final of the Swiss Student Sustainability Challenge 2018 by the FHNW.
    Aug Co-President Jonas Nierberger is awarded the Title Global Changemaker 2018 for his work at BuyAware.
    Jun BuyAware holds a workshop on sustainable electronics at at the Impact Hub in Zurich.
    May BuyAware is present at the LUGA 2018 as part of the Sonderschau Jugend. People can inspect the BuyAware Rating on the newly built Website.
    TEDx hosted by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Lucerne gives BuyAware the floor to talk about rethinking the way we make electronics.
    Apr As part of the Denk-Weiter-Woche at the University of Basel, BuyAware organises a panel about modular smartphones.
    During the Brot für Alle Campustour, BuyAware gives input speeches in Basel and Zurich.
    BuyAware is invited to talk about its rating and sustainable electronics at RISE Lucerne.
    Mar BuyAware again participates in the Nachhaltigkeitswoche Zürich 2018. The next generation of assessments is presented at the University of Zurich. In addition BuyAware co-organised the event „Your First Step Towards a Sustainable Future”. BuyAware also organised three talks on circular economics in the electronics sector at the ETH Zurich.
    Feb Speech at the International Swiss Talent Forum. At the Activity Fair BuyAware shares information concerning sustainable electronics. At the im!pact workshop at the FHNW, BuyAware shares experiences.
    Jan The second general assembly of BuyAware was held.

  • 2017 – First events and the rating takes on form
    Sep The BuyAware team grows, organizes workshops about sustainable electronics and starts the development of the first website.
    BuyAware is awarded patronage by the VSUZH Impulsfabrik and financial support is granted by Global Changemakers.
    BuyAware presents at Step Into Action Berne organised by euforia.
    Aug After a comprehensive review cycle the BuyAware List of Criteria 2.0 is released.
    Patrick Weber is named a Global Changemaker 2017 for his work at BuyAware.
    Jul The BuyAware leadership holds off a retreat to further develop the project.
    May BuyAware again appears at the Sonderschau Jugend at the LUGA 2017. Visitor can see the ranking prototype and participate in a competition sponsored by
    Apr BuyAware is supported by the Differencelab and the foundation Mercator Switzerland.
    Mar Results of the first BuyAware Assessments are presented at the Nachhaltigkeitswoche at University of Zurich.
  • 2016 – Founding efforts and first results
    Dec The first general assembly of BuyAware is held in Niederrickenbach.
    Nov The association BuyAware is founded in Lucerne.
    Oct The first prototype of the BuyAware Rating is released after half a year of development and is based on the BuyAware List of Criteria 1.0.
    May BuyAware presents its ideas and a mock-up at the LUGA Spring Fair 2016 in Lucerne as part of the Sonderschau Jugend.
    Financial support is granted by Swiss Youth in Science.
    Mar BuyAware is presented at Generactions, an event hosted by Infoklick Zentralschweiz and innovage. Valuable feedback from new audiences is gathered.
    Feb The project development is presented at the Swiss Talent Forum 2016.
  • 2015 – The first sprout begins to grow
    Mar – Nov BuyAware is developed further by students from different Swiss universities and high schools under the mentorship of Fabienne Felder. Exploratory surveys are conducted to sharpen the BuyAware’s vision.
    Feb An early version of BuyAware is developed and presented during the Swiss Talent Forum 2015.

How can you help to shift the electronics sector to be more sustaiable?

Before you make the Purchase
While you use the Phone
  • Handle your device with care and buy a case.
  • Use your device as long as it functions.
  • If your phone is damaged, try repairing it before buying a new one.
After you are done using your Product
  • When you no longer need your phone, pass it on or sell it so that others can use it.
  • If you want to dispose of it, see to it that it is disposed of correctly at a recycling station.

What does media say about us?

Now even smartphones have their own “organic-label”

By raising awareness amongst consumers they try to influence the electronics sector to become more sustainable and ethically responsible.

TEDx Talks

When making a purchase decision, independent ratings must be consulted, which take into account not only technical specifications but also working conditions and environmental impact. For example

On a website […] consumers can obtain information about the origin of electronic goods in order to make a more conscious purchase decision.
Luzerner Zeitung

The student non-profit organization Buy Aware has set itself the goal of educating the population about the ethical and ecological aspects of electronic products.
Limmattaler Zeitung

BuyAware wants to address a very broad spectrum of customers and make consumer behaviour more responsible.
Luzerner Rundschau

Each of these categories covers one phase of the life cycle of an electronic product and contains all aspects relevant for the purchase decision.
Beast Blog Uni Basel