Triodos Bank’s Executive Board provides a perspective on the wider world it operates in, its impact and activity in 2017 and its prospects for the future.
What challenge was the inspiration for this project?
Fundació Deixalles’s inspiration was born of the desire to contribute to a fairer, more sustainable society, by helping people in a situation of, or at risk of, social exclusion in the Balearic Islands to enter the labour market. The innovative thinkers behind the foundation felt that this could be achieved whilst improving the treatment and management of waste on the islands at the same time.
The organisation’s story began in 1986, in a former dairy warehouse on the outskirts of Palma de Mallorca. Its early steps were the result of the initiative of the Social Action delegation of the Mallorca Diocese and the Small and Medium-Sized Business Federation of Mallorca (PIMEM). The foundation was launched in 1990 in a fully-modified warehouse. Immediately the first positive results of the collection and treatment of waste and, above all, of the social inclusion and incorporation into the labour market of people with difficulties, could be seen. From then on, more specific lines of work were defined. They focussed on carpentry and electrician training so larger waste items could be reused. Educational activities on environmental and social topics also began to be developed in schools, for teachers, in social action groups and for the authorities.
Little by little the organisation has evolved. It now includes new activities including collaborating on European projects, inclusion companies, solidarity economics, alternative financial instruments and ethical banking. Currently Fundació Deixalles is the leading organisation supporting underprivileged groups in the Balearics through inclusion in the labour market, cooperation, recycling, responsible consumption and training.
What was your innovation that addresses this problem?
Fundació Deixalles’ main innovation is the training and social and labour inclusion programmes it has developed that treat over 2,000 tonnes of waste a year. As a result they prevent the emission of more than 5,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide whilst simultaneously generating job opportunities and future prospects for hundreds of people.
Innovation varies from used clothing customisation workshops to the restoration of furniture and the repair of electrical appliances. It even includes the methodology used in these processes. “With the entire waste recovery and treatment process, the goal is to improve, recover or consolidate the social skills each user needs to be included in wider society”, says Francesca Martí, director of Fundació Deixalles. “We use an active, participative methodology, fostering the daily involvement of all the people and organisations we work with as a network: the social services centres, the connection with other institutions (such as drug addiction centres), the social department of Fundació Deixalles via its technical team and the user - the person ultimately responsible for their own process of inclusion into the labour market”, explains Martí.
What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?
Because of its high level of dependency on the public authorities, like the vast majority of the organisations committed to social issues, and due to a delay receiving payments from them, Fundació Deixalles was in dire need of money it could use to meet its day-to-day needs. Currently 19% of the organisation’s income comes from subsidies.
For this reason the foundation turned to Triodos Bank shortly after it inaugurated its branch in Palma de Mallorca, and asked for an advance on the subsidies and covenant arrangements owed to it. Since then, the relationship between Fundació Deixalles and Triodos Bank has grown stronger thanks to their shared values and mutual understanding.
In addition to providing banking products and services, Triodos Bank recognises the innovative nature of this initiative and the value of its social and environmental impact, as a result of which Fundació Deixalles was selected as one of the six finalists for Triodos Bank Spain’s 3rd Triodos Business Award in 2016. This popular award with customers and non-customers alike carries a 10,000 Euro prize. It highlights the contribution of the companies and projects the bank finances thanks to the money entrusted to it by its savers. . In January of 2015 the bank organised a trip to Fundació Deixalles for customers from Mallorca, so that they could see the positive impact of their savings in person.
What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?
Thirty years of experience and positive results demonstrate that the Fundació Deixalles is a leader in the social and environmental sector of the Balearic Islands.
Currently the foundation manages all of the collection of separated waste for recycling on the island of Mallorca and parts of Ibiza. Its work has been recognised by numerous prizes, such as the ONCE Illes Balears 2015 Solidarity Prize, the Consell de Mallorca Solidarity Prize, the Ramon Llull Prize for business initiative, awarded by the Government of the Balearic Islands, and the National Friends of the Earth Prize for its environmental activity.
What impact has your business had on the community?
Today, more than 220 people – nearly half of them from groups in a situation, or at risk, of social exclusion – make up the workforce of the Fundació Deixalles. Almost 300 people take part in its training and inclusion programmes every year; over 1,000 people have been through its job orientation office; more than 5,100 schoolchildren have directly taken part in its activities, and over 42,000 indirectly. The foundation has approximately 30 volunteers and 140 people who perform work that benefits the community.
In terms of its environmental impact over the past year Fundació Deixalles has managed 784 tonnes of used clothes, over 900 tonnes of furniture and large waste items, 24 tonnes of paper, 10 tonnes of glass, 900 tonnes of packaging and more than 600 kg of used oil. “We collect more or less 2,000 tonnes of waste, of which around 80% can be reused”, says the director of Fundació Deixalles. “We collect anything people no longer want: clothes, books, furniture, electrical appliances, and always with the idea that they can be re-used”. All this saved over 5,000 tonnes of CO2 that were not emitted into the atmosphere. The organisation has 215 clothes bins and has set up five shops where customers can buy the recovered items as well as fair trade items.
The project has gradually extended to other areas such as the promotion of fair trade or environmental cleaning products , as well as the environmental education mentioned above.
How does Triodos Bank share your vision?
Triodos Bank supports the integration into society and the labour market of people at risk of exclusion: immigrants, the long-term unemployed, single women with families, disadvantaged young people, drug addicts, victims of gender violence, ethnic minorities and ex-convicts, among others.
With regard to nature conservation, for Triodos Bank it is fundamental to understand that safeguarding the Earth is a shared responsibility. Together, we can all contribute to the sustainable management of resources. This implies the treatment of waste, promoting the repair, reuse and recycling of all of the objects and materials that may have use in a second life.
Fundació Deixalles has managed to successfully combine social and environmental considerations. It can offer a brighter future for people in difficulties and, at the same time, minimise the impact of waste on the environment.