Officeworks acquires a 21 per cent stake in World’s Biggest Garage Sale
9 March 2022 at 4:33 pm
Brisbane-based social enterprise, the World’s Biggest Garage Sale, is set to expand across Australia under a new partnership with Officeworks.
After acquiring 21 per cent of the World’s Biggest Garage Sale, Officeworks is driving forward its ongoing commitment to sustainability while giving WBGS the funds it needs to expand into other states.
As part of the deal, which was announced last month, WBGS will rebrand as Circonomy and evolve into a national recovery and repair service.
The Officeworks and WBGS partnership isn’t new, in fact, the enterprises have been working together for the last three years.
Ryan Swenson, head of ESG for Officeworks, told Pro Bono News that the relationship began as a way for Officeworks to address a problematic waste stream for them – damaged or imperfect furniture.
“We started working with WBGS in 2019 where instead of having to send damaged or imperfect furniture to landfill we went round all our stores in Queensland, collected it all and then took it to WBGS,” Swenson says.
“They were then able to repair and resell it. It’s been incredibly successful and has not only impacted our recycling rates but it’s also shown that there is a market for expanding the service.”
And the acquisition of a percentage of WBGS allows Officeworks to do just that.
“There’s not really a national network or provider for these types of recycling services, and so whilst Officeworks has wanted to implement something similar across other states we’ve been limited,” Swenson says.
“Our investment of the 21 per cent stake in WBGS is part of that expansion plan. Together we can expand first to Melbourne and New South Wales, and then we’ll look into how to do it across the rest of the country.”
Officeworks managing director Sarah Hunter said the investment in WBGS demonstrates the environmental, social and financial opportunities associated with a more circular economy.
“Over the last three years, we have partnered with WBGS to help us achieve our vision of contributing to a more circular economy and becoming a zero-waste business,” she said.
“Together we have demonstrated a feasible model to collect, repair, repurpose and resell damaged or customer returned products. We’re excited to replicate and scale this model across Australia.
“We believe that, in time, this can be a solution that’s much more widely adopted across the retail sector as a way to divert waste from landfill, extend product life cycles, and ultimately build domestic repair and remanufacturing capability.”
WBGS founder and CEO Yasmin Grigaliunas said that she hoped other businesses would follow Officeworks’ lead and start to critically evaluate their waste management practices.
“We know that consumers want to see a more sustainable retail industry, including the reuse and repair of everyday products, rather than their disposal into the waste stream,” she said.
“Our partnership with Officeworks will allow us to broaden our service offering both geographically and in the products we can repair, and will provide a model for other businesses to follow our lead.”