AfB social & green IT

AfB is part of an environmental community enterprise.

Hand in hand with our sister companies Mobiles Lernen gemeinnützige GmbH and Social Lease GmbH, these three organizations form the stable pillars of Initiative 500, a not-for-profit public limited company. This company has undertaken the task of creating 500 jobs for disabled men and women over the coming years.

The idea

Socially responsible companies donate IT hardware which they no longer require to AfB gemeinnützige GmbH. The goods are collected, inventorized, and all data is certifiably erased. They are then tested, cleaned and finally marketed again with a warranty of at least 12 months.

The concept

Setting up a not-for-profit company in the IT sector has never been done before. AfB was founded in 2004 by personally committed private individuals with a social focus. This social enterprise now employs a total workforce of over 200 in 13 locations in Europe. Half of those employed have a disability, and have been enabled to gain quality employment through the scheme. The company processes over 230,000 used appliances a year, and the tendency is rising.

The vision

As well as creating 500 jobs for disabled men and women over the coming years, the remarketing of IT equipment will make a valuable contribution in terms of cutting carbon emissions. Remarketing PCs, notebooks and other hardware will help to reduce the need for separation of the raw materials used in IT appliances in third-world countries, which poses a risk to health and to the environment.

The AfB model is seen as a prime example of successful social entrepreneurship, as it combines professional IT services with social added value, and is the proud recipient of the 2012 Vision Award.

AfB landmarks

2004 AfB gemeinnützige GmbH is founded on 4th October with its office in “Erlengraben” in Ettlingen and a warehouse in Emmendingen near Freiburg.
2005 The company moves its offices and warehouse into new premises in Ferdinand-Porsche-Straße in Ettlingen in June 2005.
2007 The second AfB branch is opened in July. Refurbishment and sales are launched in the building of the bhz Centre for the Disabled in Stuttgart in the Fasanenhof business park.
2007 The first AfB branch outside Baden-Württemberg is inaugurated in August in Nuremberg.
2007 The fourth branch to open its doors is the shop housed in the building of the GWK not-for-profit workshop in Cologne.
2008 The new Ettlingen extension is ceremoniously opened in the presence of Karlsruhe’s Local Government President Rudolf Kühner, increasing the sales showroom from 30 to 150 sq.m.

Another branch is opened in the building of the Caritas not-for-profit workshop in Hanover in February.


In October, AfB takes over the employees and premises of the insolvent not-for-profit firm Comtrade gGmbH, giving it a new location the Jülich Technology Centre.

2009 AfB opens its next branch in Unna in April.
2009 To mark its fifth birthday, the innovative enterprise received an award in the presence of numerous representatives from the worlds of business and politics as the winner of the contest “365 Locations in Germany – Land of Ideas 2009” under the patronage of the former German President Horst Köhler.
2009 In June 2009, AfB opens a new branch in Essen, bringing the total number of branches to eight, and making North Rhine Westphalia the state with the largest number of AfB branches.
2009 The Cologne shop moves to new premises in Köln-Ehrenfeld in June 2009.
2010 The Hanover location moves into “Lange Laube” Street in March.
2010 In August, AfB succeeds in establishing its first shop outside of Germany, in Vienna, Austria.
2011 In Ettlingen, the warehouse and office move into a new building next to the sales showroom in February.
2011 In October 2011, the AfB Jülich location moves to neighbouring Düren.
2012 In April, AfB collects hardware from Spain and Italy for the first time.
2012 In June, still only a young company, AfB opens its tenth branch, this time in the capital Berlin.

(as of 2012)