Turning business ‘junk’ into community treasure
The story of All Heart NZ ticks so many boxes when it comes to business sustainability and responsibility. NZBusiness spoke to its founder and national director Joe Youssef. It all began in 2015 when Joe Youssef was walking out of a friend’s accounting business. He noticed one of the offices was stacked high with computers, […]
The story of All Heart NZ ticks so many boxes when it comes to business sustainability and responsibility. NZBusiness spoke to its founder and national director Joe Youssef.
It all began in 2015 when Joe Youssef was walking out of a friend’s accounting business. He noticed one of the offices was stacked high with computers, desks, chairs and other unwanted goods.
“I asked what he was going to do with it all,” recalls Joe. “His answer went something like, ‘too hard… think about it later…”
“That struck a chord with me. How many times during my corporate career had I seen similar goods being simply thrown away? How many times did I leave an unwanted phone, laptop or tablet lying in a drawer?”
Thanks to his many years of social sector experience, Joe was able to see those redundant goods through fresh eyes. They were no longer a waste of space – rather a pathway to bringing about social change in communities throughout New Zealand.
And so All Heart NZ Charitable Trust was born, and since February 2017 it has redirected and repurposed 1.25 million kilograms of unwanted or redundant corporate ‘stuff’ – supporting 113 different communities and creating $3.3 million dollars of financial assistance for community groups around New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
All Heart NZ exists to support not-for-profit community organisations and the creation of sustainable charitable funding, explains Joe. “We achieve this by providing a zero waste sustainability framework to redirect, repurpose and reduce all aspects of corporate waste.”
In other words, it’s a circular economy solution; a one-stop zero waste solution for unwanted corporate furniture and equipment.
It’s a proven solution for dealing with corporate or business waste that costs no more for the companies concerned than it would if it was sent to landfill, Joe says – the bonus being that it not only positively effects communities, but also supports the business’s environmental efforts.
Not only are items redirected and repurposed, All Heart NZ also operates a community enterprise store (All Heart Office Furniture and Equipment) to resell items in the true spirit of a circular economy
All Heart NZ is also about reducing waste, and many medium-to-large businesses choose to develop a sustainability partnership with the organisation.
“These relationships focus on zero waste procurement, zero waste solutions and ongoing waste diversion for corporates and businesses who are serious about sustainability,” says Joe.
This year All Heart NZ plans to establish more ‘reduction partnerships’ and more ‘Heart Quarters’ to deliver sustainable employment, sustainable upcycling, and further support for ‘corporate responsibility’.
Filling the void
Since its establishment, All Heart NZ has filled a massive gap that was historically being avoided, says Joe. With 1.6 million tonnes of waste going to landfill each year in Auckland alone, and 83 percent of this being corporate and construction waste, it’s not surprising why All Heart NZ has been so successful.
“However, I didn’t start this for the environmental aspect, I started it because this ‘stuff’ can positively affect the lives of Kiwis most in need,” says Joe, “and All Heart NZ has built a framework to support this happening.”
The people and the stories are his biggest motivators, he says. “Like the homeless kids living in a car with their mum who have never owned a pillow, just 45 minutes’ drive away from a five-star hotel throwing bedding out!”
He gets excited about the first Women’s Refuge Centre in Tauranga about to start with many items coming from a corporate move in Cambridge.
Alternative education facilities all around New Zealand are being supported with items that would have gone to landfill.
And then there’s the Pakistani refugee centre supported with unwanted corporate technology, and an ICT lab established in Tonga with similar redundant equipment.
The list of success stories is a long and ever-growing one,
All Heart NZ is all about converting corporate junk into community treasure. And its impact is far-reaching. If you’re a business owner or a corporate property manager wondering how to best dispose of redundant items – the answer is a no-brainer.
Redirect, repurpose, resell and/or reduce with All Heart NZ.
To learn more about All Heart NZ’s one stop solution for all redundant corporate equipment email [email protected] or visit www.allheartnz.org.nz