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Highlighting brilliant case studies within the Urban Context: Social Cooperative Humana Nova

From textile recycling and employment of the marginalized population to social impact

The social cooperative Humana Nova is a social enterprise dedicated to finding solutions for social, ecological and economic problems. It does so in several ways:

  1. Reducing textile waste: in 2015, Humana Nova collected 370,943 kilograms of discarded textile items. Its reuse, sorting and recycling resulted in a reduction of 1,335,000 kg of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere (produced by the decay of textiles in landfills); reducing the use of 2,226 billion liters of drinking water and reducing the use of 11,300 kg of fertilizer and 74,200 kg of pesticides used in the production of raw materials in th etextile industry.
  2. Employment of marginalized groups in the labour market: the cooperative employs 14 workers of which four persons with disabilities, 5 long-term unemployed women over 50, 1 highly educated young person, two long-term unemployed young mothers and one long-term unemployed man. Economist and manager Ivan Bozic, the only non-marginalized person, manages the cooperative.
  3. Creating positive social impact in the community: in 2015, the cooperative donated goods and services to 80 families and individuals and 10 local organizations.

The cooperative was founded in 2011 as the result of the project “ESCO - Education for Social Co-Operatives: New Opportunities for People with Disabilities” implemented by a non-governmental organization active in Medimurje County: Autonomous Centre (ACT). The aim of the project was to provide education for people with disabilities in order to increase their competitiveness in the labour market. The participants in the program gained new skills and qualifications starting from web administrators, accountants and professional sewers leading to the foundation of several social enterprises employing people excluded from the labour market; one of which was Humana Nova and their members are four associations of persons with disabilities in the region, as well as employees.

Today Humana Nova has sewing manufacture in Cakovec, which converts clean but unusable textile items into new products such as patchwork covers, handbags, slippers, laptop and mobile bags, garments etc., which can be bought in the cooperative’s shops in Cakovec and Koprivnica or in other greenware shops in Croatia . In addition, the manufacturer sews for other external clients, converts unusable textile into industrial cloths or delivers it to the recycling companies. In addition, usable textile after cleaning and sorting is sold in second hand shops. Moreover, in September 2016 Humana Nova opened a new outlet shop and sorting unit in Zagreb thanks to the support for social entrepreneurship provided by City of Zagreb. The financial investment of half a million kuna (roughly 66.000 EUR) donated by the City of Zagreb contributed to the realization of this project resulting in the employment of an additional 4 workers last month and 3 new persons from marginalized groups that will be employed in the next few days.

The full report is available on the right hand side of this page.