Die Fairmittlerei – Vienna Start-up Against Wastefulness
More than 2 thousand tons of unused drugstore items are thrown away by their producing companies annually – just in Austria. Blemishes like wrong or misplaced labels or out-faded product series make products unsellable for companies, but not unusable by their potential buyers. While on the costumers’ end second-hand stores already give clothes and other products a second life, on the side of the producer there is still work to do to save waste and resources.
Michael K. Reiter, in his marketing position at a well-known FMCG company, saw this potential and combined it with a social idea: why not redistributing non-food products, that otherwise would be thrown away, to organisations that have a positive impact on society to a much lower-than-market-price to support them? And he just did it.
With the help of a social logistics company and partnerships with retailers and industry, goods are delivered to the Fairmittlerei’s warehouse. There the products are packaged for sale on-line. „This way we are able to distribute the products trough our web shop for approx.20-25% of the regular supermarket price. “- Michael calculates.
The customers of „die Fairmittlerei“ are NPOs based all over Austria and can simply order, even in large amounts, on the website. “Often, the organisations do not have access to large companies and the latter do not have the resources to maintain a network of social customers, as this is not part of their core tasks. This is exactly the gap we are closing – everybody wins” – Michael explains smiling.
With their service, they are not only solving a problem of surplus products for companies and supporting non-profit organisations and other social businesses, with offering those surplus goods for a low price. The additional impact of „die Fairmittlerei“ is good for the environment, as they help reducing thousands of kilos of unnecessary waste each single year.
“At the moment there are about 15 voluntary members including the four founding members that convey the goods, run the web-shop and do the marketing activities. Eventually in 2-3 years, 3-4 staff members will be able to make a living from their work at die Fairmittlerei. However, we will always remain a non-profit company ourselves.” – says Michael.
The idea was lent by “the elder sister innatura.org based in Cologne, Germany”, as Michael puts it. Since its launch in 2016 “die Fairmittlerei” won several awards and completed successful crowdfunding initiatives. Besides that they already distributed more than 30 tons of goods. The word, by the way, is a German pun combining the words “fair” and “broker”.