“A mobile phone for the gorilla”: BARTHAUER supports the collection campaign of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS)

The habitat of the last wild mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park is increasingly being threatened by the mining of metals for the production of mobile phones. The recycling of raw materials from used mobile phones is therefore an important step to protect this valuable habitat. For this reason, the FZS Conservation Ambassadors initiated the “A mobile phone for the Gorilla” collection campaign in 2009. BARTHAUER supports the gorilla protection project with an in-house mobile phone collection campaign.

Copper, tin, gold, silver, cobalt, tantalum: all these metals are important components of mobile phones. To get to these raw materials, landscapes and so valuable habitat are destroyed. Mining is often carried out in illegal mines, as well as in the Virunga National Park in the DRC. This national park in the heart of Africa is a centre of biodiversity and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Roughly half of the last 880 mountain gorillas in the world live there. They are among the most endangered great apes. The national park has been on the list of endangered world heritage sites since 1994. The soaring demand for metals in recent years created many illegal mining sites which are destroying the habitat of the gorillas.

The recycling of raw materials from used mobile phones is therefore an important step to protect these valuable habitats. For this reason, the Conservation Ambassadors of the Frankfurt Zoological Society initiated the “A mobile phone for the Gorilla” collection campaign in cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoo. Donated used mobile phones are stripped into their individual components and recycled. This makes the recycled materials available again as a valuable raw material for the production of new devices. Approximately 10% of the collected mobile phones can be resold after refurbishment. The result is a sustainable cycle – for each reused mobile phone, no new raw material has to be mined. In addition, the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) receives a fixed sum of money from its recycling partner for each mobile phone collected or sent in. 100% of this money flows directly into the gorilla protection project.

“As a company we want to make an active contribution to nature conservation and environmental protection and we are committed to the conservation of biodiversity,” said Anis Saad, CEO of Barthauer Software GmbH. “For this reason, we now also support the gorilla protection project immediate effect with our in-house mobile phone collection.” The impetus came from sales manager Claudia Hickmann. She visited the Virunga National Park in the DRC for the first time in 2016 and experienced the endangered mountain gorillas up close. “Supporting the mobile phone collection of the zoological society is therefore very close to my heart”, says Claudia Hickmann. “I hope that these impressive, peaceful, imposing and threatened mountain gorillas with their genetic material that differs only about 1.75 per cent from those of humans have a future. This makes the positive response from colleagues to my idea so much more heart-warming. People are “going ape” with excitement as the collective momentum is sweeping through our company.” The number of used mobile phones donated by employees has grown so much that a larger collection box had to be provided. “Our goal is to turn over 500 old devices to the FZS by the end of the year. To achieve this goal, customers, partners and participants in BARTHAUER training sessions and conferences will also be informed of the collection campaign and involved in it.”

Gave the impetus for the in-house mobile phone collection: Head of Sale Claudia Hickmann