Often when companies move offices, huge volumes of perfectly good office furniture are dumped in a landfill, while smaller businesses and charities struggle to furnish themselves. Colin Crooks saw the opportunity to address this problem as well as help marginalised individuals and the environment by setting up the social enterprise Green Works in 2000. Starting off with just one van, the company has grown into a £2million charity with five franchises operating across the UK.
Green Works, which is a Social Enterprise UK member, has grown to operate on an industrial scale across the country, diverting 60,000 tonnes of furniture that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. It refashions and redirects it on to over 5,000 organisations, including schools, charities and small businesses, saving them over £2.5m in discounted furniture.
To carry out this operation, Green Works employs and trains marginalised groups, including homeless people and ex-offenders, and has created over 800 training and employment places over the last ten years. In contrast, sending that furniture to landfill would only employ two people.
In 2008 Green-Works was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2008 - Sustainable Development. More recently the company was amongst the first recipients of the Social Enterprise Mark in recognition of its commitment to trading for people and planet.
Green-works also feature in our 'Social Franchising Manual' for social enterprises who are thinking about replicating their work.