Fair trade Department Store - Social Cooperation


B1 - How has the GP impacted on the following?

Legal/financial exclusion    
Highly positive impacts    
FairKauf will be socially sustainable not as a 'give-away shop' or 'soup kitchen'. It is not designed to react to immediate emergencies but to offer lasting solutions, e. g. employment and qualification. In this regard, FairKauf does not fight poverty but offers lasting ways and means to overcome poverty. Fighting against financial exclusion is reached by selling second-hand goods to people with limited means at affordable prices: furniture, clothing, household goods and books – donated by those who do not need them anymore. This social cooperative does not need any special public subsidies

Creation/conservation of local employment    
Highly positive impacts    
Employment creation means that FairKauf generates employment by profitmaking. It is more than a social institution. It aims at making profit in part of its operations as a successful business. Strong service and customer orientation are the central elements of economic sustainability around second-hand goods. Further services are collection and delivery of goods, dissolving households and collecting salvage. FairKauf introduces new conditions of work.

Enablement of social enterpreneurship
Positive impacts    
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. For them FairKauf is a meeting place of different groups. In this way FairKauf combines work, money and used goods.

Amenities for local people    
Positive impacts    
All goals FairKauf is pursuing have direct positive impacts on local people: offering exclusively second-hand goods at fair prices to all citizens, offering qualification to disadvantaged groups (thus, contributing to social cohesion and strengthening the community), re-use of pre-owned goos, reduction of garbage and refuse, sustainable development.

Educational opportunities    
Highly positive impacts    
FairKauf provides for qualification and employment by offering high-quality 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.   

Crisis response
Positive impacts    
FairKauf does not aim at protecting the needy or saving victims of the financial crisis. It carries out ordinary business. Customers do not have to prove that they are needy. Instead of one helping the other, all are customers, all pay the same prices. FairKauf has to make attractive offers for the needy and for others. It is a place for redistribution of abundance, by using goods several times, bringing them back into the economic cycle. Interestingly, even during the times of crisis FairKauf has been steadily growing, constantly increasing their numbers of employees, while many other businesses were forced to reduce their numbers or even close their doors. In this light, all the more noteworthy appears the fact that FairKauf has never received public subsidies or any other form of public funding.  

Local financial environment for social enterprise   
Impacts not known    
The new idea in FairKauf is economisation of social work, not being a department store for the poor, but a department store as an enterprise for qualification with mainly social objectives, aiming at inclusion of the poor into the labour market and society. Classification as charity is avoided, because charity leads to dependence and loss of dignity. An entrepreneurial approach allows financial independence by earning surplus (excess of income over expenditure) covering cost. Financial independence means building a stable base, by combining variable equity capital (contributions by members) and indivisible reserves. This might prove a useful model for other social enterprises to take on.   

Local policy environment for social enterprise   
Impacts not known    
For FairKauf the choice was registered co-operative society (eG), which allows to reach all economic and social objectives of a social department store, with competent leaders accompanying people, encouraging and qualifying them and enabling them to find employment in the labour market. Furthermore, the self-financed eG is immune against hostile take-over. It allows limited liability, easy entry and withdrawal of members, integrating partners of different size or strength in a democratic internal structure, low capital contributions and accumulation of indivisible reserves from undistributed surplus. This might prove a useful model for local policy-makers to support and advance.

National financial environment for social enterprise 
Impacts not known

National policy environment for social enterprise 
Impacts not known

Similar good practice

Related Articles

No related articles