No|One and No|Thing to Waste

For us it is more than a project,

it is what brought us and keeps us together.

It is our way of thinking, our everyday life and our daily work.

We actively promote the principle of “zero-waste” whether we cook our Mediterranean dishes in our Catering facilities, collect paper for recycling from our customers, create our beautiful grand-father clocks from recycled materials, or re-furbish old furniture to be re-used by people who need it most. In recognition of our focus to the achievent of environmental goals we have been awarded the Bronze Medal of the 2015 Environmental Awards in the category Recycling-Reuse by the Hellenic Ministry of Development and Competitiveness and the Ministry for the Environment and Climate Change. The awards are supported by the European Parliament.

But this is only part of our story.

For us the most terrible waste of our times is the waste of human ability, knowledge, skills and potential. Our advanced societies do not seem capable of solving the problem of social and economic exclusion. In fact instead of making progress we seem to be moving backwards. More and more perfectly capable people join the ranks of the long-term unemployed, the vulnerable, and the marginalized.

Victoria Metro Station, Athens, the morning after a terribly cold night in January 2017

People who until yesterday were producing and could support themselves and their families find themselves unemployed and often unemployable due to factors such as their age, some end up in the streets, many lose all hope and experience mental health problems that make their socio-economic come-back even harder if not unlikely.

Klimax Plus since its establishment has worked consistently to offer people at-risk of exclusion an effective path for their socio-economic integration.

All our activities have one overarching goal: To help people help themselves in order to achieve a better life.  We come up with real solutions to the “real and present” social problems of our time. Our economic activities, based on our conviction that the only way forward is the “green way”, aim at providing meaningful and sustainable employment to people who would have otherwise fallen in the cracks of our socio-economic system so that they can gain a sense of autonomy and self-confidence. The achievement of our social goals passes through the financial sustainability of our cooperative.

The Business Model of Klimax Plus includes a unique set of features:

  • Klimax Plus’s Key Asset is its people:
    • Our 31 regular employees (almost all from disadvantaged or socially excluded groups, 29 working in recycling-reuse and our catering business, and two in administration and coordination)  receive competitive wages and benefits for services and products offered on the market.
    • Our members, volunteers and health providers (41 people with psychosocial problems, 23 mental health professionals, 15 volunteers with specific duties and 8 persons and entities that work in the field of mental health and social exclusion) that are mainly engaged in its complementary activities;
  • Our Partners are many and we value all their contributions to our work. They include some of the largest corporations in Greece (banks, hospitals), mid-size enterprises (construction companies, energy suppliers, etc), international organizations and public sector bodies. Acknowledging the quality of our products and services, the importance of what we do and the effectivenees of how we do it they choose to work with us so that “No|one is left behind” and “No|thing gets wasted”.
  • Our Key Activities extend well beyond the income generating activities of the cooperative, i.e. the production and distribution of our main products and services. Our employees and volunteers are a special group of people with special skills and needs. Klimax Plus needs to invest significantly in the provision of health services and multifaceted training and support so that our employees and other beneficiaries develop their skills, work, socialize and  lead full lives.

Awareness raising among our stakeholders, policy makers and institutional bodies, private sector companies, and the general public, information and dissemination activities, fund-raising, are also part of daily activities.

The incurring costs are covered by the surplus created by the products and services sold on the open market;

  • We apply the principles of social economy to achieve the goal of greening the economy by providing services to re-use, recycle but mainly “re-think waste” as a resource and not as an environmental and economic burden;
  • We pursue sustainable economic activities which can utilize the broad range of life experiences and skills of socially excluded persons (e.g. of people with mental disorders, homeless, ex-prisoners, ex-drug users, Roma) and combine them with the scientific knowledge and expertise of mental health professionals and associated academics not only in our day to day operations, but also in the decision making process.

Social Outcome

We measure our success one person at a time and we are proud for the achievements of all our members, volunteers and employees through the years:

  • Work Rehabilitation of socially excluded persons: Since the establishment of Klimax Plus, 156 persons have been employed by the social cooperative. The vast majority are persons from socially excluded groups and people with mental disorders.
  • Re-housing for formerly homeless employees of Klimax plus: 24 persons were re-housed after their employment with Klimax plus.
  • Reduction of dependence on state subsidies: Most of Klimax Plus employees are former state subsidy recipients. Through their employment and professional support at Klimax Plus they have a regular job and salary and no longer depend on hand-outs from the state.
  • Employees-beneficiaries serve as role-models for their communities. Coming mainly from excluded population groups (homeless, Roma, ex-prisoners, immigrants, people with mental disorders among others), Klimax Plus employees and beneficiaries are the multipliers of the positive results in their communities and encourage others in similar circumstances to seek support and take control of their own lives.
  • We are proud that Klimax Plus is often cited as a reference model for its exemplary work in the integration of the disadvantaged and vulnerable persons.  At this time of tremendous transformation in Greece felt -painfully-on the economic front and even more so on the social front Klimax Plus is intensifying its efforts for social innovation, economic growth based on the principles of equality and fairness for all and the strengthening of the social cohesion.

Together for a better world

Klimax Plus

for a Co-operative and Equal society

 Header Photo: akarali_Mykonos_Sculpture_Exhibit_08_2016