About this good practice
The activities of Koopera, founded in 1990, aim to address two issues that characterize many territories: on one side the necessity to improve the management of waste reducing its production, on the other side the willingness to find appropriate and decent jobs for social workers. This is precisely the focus of Koopera which works with the aim of improving the situation of people at risk of social exclusion by employing them to work in jobs related to different aspects of environmental and social sustainability, such as reuse and recycling, sustainable consumption, education, care for people and other activities that can help meet this objective. The aim is to facilitate the successful "jump" of these people to ordinary companies, offering activities that enable the development of social and work skills, and incorporating them as partners to cooperatives in which participation and entrepreneurialism are facilitated.
The activity of Koopera is focused around three main threads:
- Social services: training people in situations of social exclusion, integration of the immigrant, entry of unemployed in the labor market
- Environmental Services: sustainable construction, sustainable agriculture, sustainable urban mobility, environmental education
- Reuse and recycling: preparation for reuse, research and development of waste from textile, building and automotive industry.
The infrastructures of Koopera include collection and recycling centers and 33 shops in Spain.
The implementation of Koopera has been supported by Caritas and by the EU Social Funds (EI FSE).
Evidence of success
Evidences of the success of Koopera activity are provided by the numbers related to it:
- upcycled products sold through 33 stores in Spain, helping with these products more than 9,000 people with needs, in coordination with Caritas and Social Services municipalities
- 265 people involved as staff, 40% from collective or at risk of exclusion
- 255 volunteers that collaborate with Koopera
- 15,802,198 kg annual waste managed: paper and cardboard, furniture and appliances, clothing.
Potential for learning or transfer
The core element of the GP which proves to be particularly interesting to transfer is the creation of a system of people, infrastructures and connections that enables to effectively tackle two problems at the same time (waste reduction and job placement of people at risk of social exclusion).
The transferability to other regions and countries is very high, since:
1. Complex technical skills are not required and does not have high entrance barriers.
2. The elements where the activity has its roots are common in all territories: people at risk of social exclusion and environmental problems to solve.