The R.U.S.Z. - pioneer company of the circular economy
The business model of R.U.S.Z is fully in line with the package of measures published in 2015 for the circular economy to increase competitiveness, create jobs and achieve sustainable growth. It generates added value for the community on a social and ecological level in that the permanent employment of formerly long-term unemployed mechatronics engineers trains them to become technical experts and the extension of the useful life of consumer goods makes a significant contribution to resource conservation. It creates added value in Austria, has embodied the strategy of resource conservation and has been committed to sustainable production and sustainable consumption of electric and electrical equipment for 20 years. This, combined with its successful public relations work and extraordinarily effective lobbying, has a local, national and EU-wide impact.
According to the study "Economic Growth Potential of More Circular Economies" by Peter Mitchell and Keith James, 1.2 million jobs could be created in Europe by 2030 if the circular economy continues to develop, 25,000 of them in Austria.
In the late 1990s, just as today, there was a high demand for repairs of electric and electrical equipment, which were reluctantly or not at all offered by the manufacturers' customer services. small time repair virtuosos were threatened with insolvency. In order to counteract this market failure, the corporate concept of R.U.S.Z. was created in 1998, commissioned by the AMS (until 2007).
The low prices for serious repair services of the R.U.S.Z. created a massive demand for a wide variety of repair services. When the R.U.S.Z. received the request for the repair of a six-meter-long flat-shaft engine for a sailing yacht, the management decided in 1999 to found the Reparaturnetzwerk Wien, in which all serious repair companies that are not primarily interested in selling new goods have been advertised since then.
The originally socio-economic business was continued privately from 2007 and was ultimately able to develop into the successful social enterprise that it is today, while remaining true to its original principles.
Work and practical training for long-term unemployed and apprentices
Today, we still uphold the old, social mission and offer (free) work and practical training for the long-term unemployed and mechatronics apprentices from inter-company training facilities. From this pool we acquire our new employees when there is a need for personnel and offer them permanent employment contracts.
Repair-café "Schraube 14"
Interested parties have the opportunity to repair defective small electric and electrical equipment themselves once a week at the repair-café "Schraube 14" under the guidance of specialists from the R.U.S.Z.
The R.U.S.Z. has heralded a renaissance of repair in Vienna. Currently we are creating a quality awareness for durable and repairable products instead of disposable products with an extremely short life span (keyword: planned obsolescence).
As an expert for consumer protection, social economy and sustainability, R.U.S.Z. managing director Sepp Eisenriegler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer for lectures, conferences, panel discussions, presentations, specialist workshops, universities and schools.
Lobbying for resource conservation at all levels
The R.U.S.Z. was co-founder of the European umbrella organization for social economy enterprises - RREUSE with its own office in Brussels and later the federal umbrella organization RepaNet Austria. Under the presidency of RREUSE by the R.U.S.Z managing director it was possible to successfully march through the (EU) institutions, to lobby local needs against the interests of the industry into EU legislation and to profit from this at the local level. Results included the right of social enterprises to have priority in "cherry picking" old electrical and electronic equipment in municipal waste collection centers. After a media campaign against planned obsolescence lasting several years and the co-development by the R.U.S.Z. of a groundbreaking standard concerning the durability and repair-friendliness of electrical and electronic equipment (ONR 192102:2014), it was possible to reach not only the scientific community (Joint Research Center of the EU Commission, European Environment Agency Copenhagen, UBA Germany, WU Vienna, BOKU Vienna, University of Graz, etc.) but also the European institutions (EU Commission, European Parliament). On December 2, 2015, the EU Commission published the action plan for a resource-efficient circular economy, thus bidding farewell to the idea of a growth-driven, linear, capitalist market economy. The focus of this circular economy package is on durable, repair-friendly products. The managing partner Sepp Eisenriegler is active at EU level as a speaker and expert of the scientific think-tank of the EU Commission, the Joint Research Center.
2015 24 new washing machines were tested, 2016 40 vacuum cleaners on the market, in accordance with the standard developed by the R.U.S.Z. concerning the durability and ease of repair of electrical and electronic appliances (ONR 192102:2014) on behalf of a large EU consumer protection organization. The results were sobering: Each washing machine was worse than its own predecessor model, and there are no spare parts for all vacuum cleaners under € 80. The share of disposable products in both appliance groups has tripled in the last 10 years.
Appliance Rental & Social Franchising
Since 2017 we have been offering the "Clean laundry product service" according to the "use instead of buy" principle.
With the support of the Ministry of Economics, we intend to take our successful business model in the form of social franchising to other regions.
New personnel policy focus: Refugees
Since 2018 Gasim has been working with us. For many years he did not get a chance in Austria. Mortesa from Afghanistan is completing his apprenticeship as an electronic technician with us. He can now wait for his decision in peace and quiet without having to fear that he will be deported immediately afterwards. A Syrian Kurd (Convention refugee) is also with us for his work training.
Foundation of the R.U.S.Z. Franchising GmbH
Distribution of the successful business model via franchise partners.