Fair trade Department Store - Social Cooperation
A - DESCRIPTION OF THE GOOD PRACTICE
Fair Trade Department Store - registered co-operative
FairKauf was established in 2006 as an experiment, positively received by customers, the press and the media. In collaboration with the public employment agency in Hannover, FairKauf is offering employment to unemployed people with a long-term perspective of being integrated into the first labour market.
Hannover and Hannover Region, Lower Saxony, Germany
Field of activity
S Other service activities
To create or conserve employment
To provide educational opportunities
To improve social cohesion/inclusion
19 July 2007
End date (if applicable)
Established as a second-hand store pursuing in fact social objectives, FairKauf define themselves as what is called a 'rara avis'. In times of growing social problems, it is important to open new perspectives for disadvantaged people. FairKauf does this by selling used goods at reasonably cheap prices rather than giving them away as gifts. In this way, people in need are not receiving alms but preserve their dignity and are invited to participate in social life rather than being excluded.
The concept of FairKauf follows the model of social department stores, which exist in Germany in many forms, following different concepts. However, the idea of FairKauf, implemented in a liberal market economy, is living from trade. Everyone buying in FairKauf contributes to making the idea sustainable, as a lasting enrichment of the City of Hannover.
Nevertheless, FairKauf's main objective remains to create the opportunities for, and offer, employment to unemployed people with a long-term perspective of being integrated into the first labour market.in collaboration with the public employment agency in Hannover. FairKauf's legal form is that of a non-commercial (not-for-profit) registered cooperative. Due to the steady economic growth FairKauf has been continually achieving since their foundation in 2006, there has never been a need for public subsidies. Instead, rather the opposite has been the case: with a constantly growing number of employees (currently to sum up 220), FairKauf has been further expanding, aiming to be represented at overall five facilities within the next five years.
- Social objectives: In collaboration with the public employment agency in Hannover, FairKauf is offering vocational training / employment to unemployed people with a long-term perspective of being integrated into the first labour market.
- Business oriented objectives: living from trading pre-owned goods, which means being able to cover all costs and investing the surplus in further vocational training of disadvantaged groups, such as long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, etc.
- Selling second-hand goods (e.g. furniture, clothing, household goods, and books), donated by those who do not need them anymore, to people with limited means at affordable prices;
- To the same end, offering other services, e.g. collection and delivery of goods, dissolving households and collecting salvage.
- Refurbishing the pre-owned goods, thus contributing to saving natural resources;
- Offering vocational training / apprenticeships in retail trade, logistics and administration. This is done in collaboration with the public agency for employment. Unemployed people are offered temporary or permanent, part-time or full-time jobs. Moreover, members of the co-operative society agree to participate as volunteers (for several hours or days per month), working for civil society in different fields.
A continuously growing number of employees (from 7 in 2008 up to 220 in 2013) are a good sign of success. A large number of volunteers experience day-to-day work in FairKauf and see this as a positive experience. FairKauf has become a trade-mark. According to a survey, 55 percent of the population of Hannover know FairKauf. From the beginning there were signs of success. The project won several prices, such as the Citizen Participation of Niedersachsen 2008, and the CSR-Seal of 2009 of Germany – Land of Ideas.
Success criteria were good Public Relations and a steadily growing number of customers. FairKauf is becoming a prosperous and growing enterprise, starting in a time when many other department stores are closing.
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