Small company Humana Nova is based in the North of Croatia in Čakovec city. Humana Nova is a social cooperative, a social enterprise that operates in 3 areas: environmental, social, and economic. They employ persons with disabilities and other socially excluded persons. The team consists of 45 employees, 26 persons are disabled, and 12 are members of other marginalized groups. An interesting fact is that from 2020. exports have increased by more than 150%, and since June 2020, they have recorded constant growth in the domestic market as well. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of employees has grown from 28 to 44 employees. In the midle of the pandemic, they invested more than EUR 132.722,81 in the renovation of the premises. All the felt they produce is exported to EU countries, but they also export new products they sew, about 10%.
What is their secret?
Social, ecological, and economic goals are equally represented in their business. They collect textiles that people bring directly to Humana Nova and leave in one of their containers or in the recycling yards of local utility companies they cooperate with. Humana Nova has a rounded model of textile waste management in partnership with Regeneracija Zabok regarding the production of felt. From collected textiles and after sorting they reuse some parts for donations or sales in their second-hand shop. Part of it they use in the sewing room for the production of new items (aprons, slippers, nursery school bags, canvas bags…). The sorted cotton is cut into industrial rags which go back to the market, primarily in the metal processing industry, while the remaining textiles go into the production of felt. A model like that is unique and one of the best in the EU according to the RREUSE network analysis. In these processes, they introduced the ISO 14001 environmental management certificate and ISO 26000 –the social responsibility certificate.
This social enterprise is organizing textile waste collection campaigns; they cooperate with schools, associations, and local authorities that show interest and desire to make a difference. They hold creative workshops on textile recycling in educational institutions, kindergartens, and if desired, other institutions. Annually they are processing 350 to 400 tons of textile waste.
What makes Humana Nova https://humananova.org/ different from other textile industries is the approach to work and workers. There are no working norms in production processes, which encourages the personal responsibility of each worker to their workplace and work process. Working conditions greatly affect the satisfaction of workers who then perform their work correctly without stress and pressure.