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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Repairs for Future! Creating a solid repair infrastructure in Europe to save fossil resources, our climate and to leave no one behind. An Austrian replicable multi-stakeholder approach

Reparatur- und Service-Zentrum R.U.S.Z (
Private sector

    As the founder, owner and managing director of a social enterprise for the common good, I turned the solution to a social challenge into my business model 22 years ago. The socio-ecological impact of R.U.S.Z goes far beyond the operational contributions to extending the product life of electrical and electronic appliances - and thus to resource conservation and climate protection: consistent lobbying, especially at the EU level, led to the questioning of our linear economic system by the EU institutions and ultimately to regulatory measures within the framework of the circular economy system. Beneficiaries are in particular the next generations of the human species.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The increasing depletion of resources through the production of short-lived electrical and electronic appliances is ethically unacceptable, reduces the availability of resources for future generations and heats up the climate (UN Environment: Global Ressources Outlook 2019). In line with the EU regulatory policy currently in preparation, the circular economy action plans, which R.U.S.Z is proactively helping to realise, together with our EU network partners we are creating the prerequisite that repairs are worthwhile again. In the meantime there is consensus within the EU institutions that the goals of the circular economy can only be achieved through durable, repair-friendly designed products which can easily be prepared for re-use. As a successful lobbyist in Brussels for many years, I am still surprised from time to time about the willingness of the EU institutions to cooperate when I can present well-prepared concerns at the (politically) right time together with my lobbying network partners. Thus, the Austrian standard ONR 192102:2014 was a most welcome door opener for the EU standardisation of Energy related products - Material Efficiency for Ecodesign (EC-Mandate 543). I was in a leading position at CEN-CLC JTC 10 until our ambitious criteria for EN 45554:2020 were on track. As a pioneer company of the common good economy, R.U.S.Z measures its progress through the audited common good balance sheet. Our well prepared eco-social franchising is being rolled out in Austria and internationally: By 2025, we plan to have 23 franchise partners in the D-A-CH region and in the EU capitals.


    R.U.S.Z is a private Social Business and, in addition to its day-to-day repair services, it is also a centre for consumer protection and sustainability. During the last 22 years we have re-invented a reputable repair service in Austria and, based on successful lobbying and networking, are now the best known independent repair company in the EU. We also run Austria's largest re-use centre for large household appliances and offer a weekly repair café to cope with the new status symbols of a growing sustainable consumption-minority and to leave no one behind. R.U.S.Z has founded the ReparaturNetzWerk Wien, an association of all reputable repair businesses in the greater Vienna area. Furthermore, R.U.S.Z was co-founder of the European umbrella organisation for social economy enterprises RREUSE, a lobbying network on the EU level and its national counterpart RepaNet Austria.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    R.U.S.Z was always an environmental and social beacon-project. The EU Circuly Economy regulatory policy, Fridays for Future and, unexpectedly, the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the mindset of many consumers towards sustainable consumption. Lobbying for a more Circular Economy, technical innovations (Tuning of WMs), setting (EU) standards (ONR 192102:2014, EN 45554:2020) and new sustainable consumption patterns (Product Service Systems, PSS) have paved our way onto economic feasibility of repair services. Now we are in the position to set up a social franchising system at the right time and scale up our environmental, social and economic impact.

    Sustainability and replicability

    Currently R.U.S.Z is responsible for extending the product life of some 9.000 electrical appliances per year in Vienna. Why is this a sustainable outcome of our best practice? Over 50% of the total environmental impact in the life of household appliances is caused by production and distribution (Steiner, Timely Replacement of White Goods, 2005)! 50% of all global carbon emissions are caused by the extraction and processing of natural resources (UN Environment: Global Ressources Outlook 2019): Every repair is an individual contribution to climate protection! Since repair services have become economically feasible during the last two years we have already started to scale up our sustainable impact: Our Social Franchising system is open for interested Franchisees all over Europe. Doing so we support the implementation of 5 SDGs in other places: Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action and Partnerships for the Goals.

    Other sources of information

    Web:,,;, New Media:,,, Sepp Eisenriegler (Ed.), 2020: The Circular Economy in the European Union. An Interim Review, ISBN 978-3-030-50238-6 Sepp Eisenriegler, 2016: Konsumtrottel, ISBN 978-3-99001-183-6 Latest obsolescence-movie: 100 contributions in high-circulation print and electronic media per year

    COVID-19 Impact

    Repair services, sales of Re-Use appliances and product service systems have proved to be a resilient business model during the last two years. In combination with the EU Green Deal, the Circular Economy Package and the NextGenerationEU program it will perform even more economically feasible. In 2019 we made a profit of some 100.000,- EUROS, which is 10 % of our revenues in the greater Vienna Region. Even though we had to close down in 2020 for 4 weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic we managed to have the same economic result last year. What still needs to be done: Compensate market failure by implementation of a socially just environmental tax reform VAT reduction for repair services, re-use products and PSS Implementation of Repair Networks with quality management criteria

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 1998 (start date)
    31 December 2025 (date of completion)
    Reparatur- und Service-Zentrum R.U.S.Z (Repair and Service Centre R.U.S.Z)
    Other beneficiaries

    Beneficiaries are the next generations, but also 77% EU households who want to have their appliances repaired. To leave no one behind R.U.S.Z offers vocational training to its apprentices and longterm unemployed trainees. Our current human resources development is focusing on refugees. We collaborate with EU institutions, Standardisation bodies and NGOs. Partnerships developed: research institutes, consumer organisations and repair platforms.

    More information
    Contact Information

    Sepp, Repairs for Future! Creating a solid repair infrastructure in Europe to save fossil resources, our climate and to leave no one behind. An Austrian replicable multi-stakeholder approach