Firstly, to relieve unemployment by providing jobs, work placements, training and volunteering opportunities for people whose circumstances, such as disability, mean that they are very often excluded from work. Equally, to protect the natural environment by recycling and re-using waste wood and by promoting the use of sustainably-produced timber – meaning well -managed local woodlands.
A business model for social and environmental change.
The founder members of Oxford Wood Recycling (OWR) set up the social enterprise in an attempt to make transformational changes in the world. That is, in a grass roots organic way, to contribute to a more just and sustainable society. The starting point was that business is a powerful engine of social and environmental change, if only it is employed to those ends and those ends only.
16 years later the business model of reclaiming and offering for sale wood from commercially run waste collections has proved itself, and the social enterprise, now an award-winning charity, has exciting plans to develop its mission further in order to maximise the benefits to the local community.
Currently, OWR collects over 1500 tonnes of waste per annum and returns 300 tonnes back into use for DIY. The remainder is passed on for recycling as panel board or for energy recovery by UK- based Biomass power stations. The Company employs around 20 people and works with volunteers, work placements and trainees, many with disabilities, to support their personal and career development.