Abilities Incorporated is a leader in enriching the lives of people with disabilities. As a not-for-profit Incorporated Society, we achieve this through the employment of people with disabilities at our own facility, undertaking work suited to the ability of each individual in a safe and supportive environment.
Our staff are our most important focus, as are their ongoing wellbeing and development so they can be effective and content in their work and livelihoods. We also strive to meet our environmental responsibilities with care, use resources judiciously and improve environmental performance on an ongoing basis. This gives our enterprise a strong sustainability focus.
We have a dedicated SustainAbility Committee and a SustainAbility programme aligned with Abilities’ overall vision and objectives.
We currently employ 120 people with disabilities and 30 highly dedicated support staff. Selected community workers referred by the Department of Corrections also provide valuable support, as do occasional workers during times of high demand.
Abilities is guided by a board of directors who serve on a voluntary basis, and who have put into place a strong and diligent governance structure. All our employees are members of the Incorporated Society and able to have their say – including at the Annual General Meeting.
Each of our staff members has different needs and abilities. This determines the kind of work and environment each is best suited to. To make sure we get this right, we prepare a personal assessment of each staff member on an annual basis, following government approved guidelines.
The Ministry of Social Development, our supervisory agency, is in constant contact and carries out regular audits of our performance. Health and safety has a high level of importance, and we are actively preparing for regulatory changes ahead of us in this area.
Each year we undertake a number of programmes aimed at the health and wellbeing or our staff. Fabulous February – a month of zero sugar consumption – has proven to be a great success. We find that adopting a health-related programme for a whole month is not only enjoyable but can generate genuine change.
Our Health and Safety and Social Policies outline the principles that guide our practice in this area.
A large proportion of Abilities’ work involves resource recovery and recycling of paper and cardboard, metals, plastics and waste electronic components. Our technical division Abmech is involved in the refurbishing and reuse of electronic equipment.
Recently, we have played key roles in both national and regional government recycling initiatives of analogue TVs, other electronic waste and soft plastics waste. We also service many private enterprises in the Auckland region.
Abilities holds relevant "Basel Permits" issued by the Ministry for the Environment, to enable export of residual hazardous components for recycling at approved facilities overseas.
Overall, we operate our business in a manner to minimise any effects on the environment. Our certified "EcoWarranty" Environmental Management System plays a key role in this, while Environmental, Sustainability and Purchasing Policies provide important guidance.
We measure and evaluate our own electricity, water and fuel use on an ongoing basis and have a programme and targets to continuously improve our environmental performance. Overall, Abilities recycles significant quantities of waste that would otherwise be landfilled. On average Abilities prevents some 4000 tonnes of waste from entering landfills!
We are fortunate to have the strong support of our staff and their caretakers, our valuable clients, partners and donors, our suppliers and the wider community.
We foster relationships with key government ministries and departments, and a range of like-minded organisations throughout New Zealand and overseas. We are affiliated to a range of professional organisations, including the Sustainable Business Network.
Abilities likes to give back as well. We provide specific strategic and operational support to a similar, more fragile organisation in Auckland. We also donate free recycling services to a range of non-profit organisations on the North Shore.
Providing Quality Services
Although our focus is on providing employment to people with disabilities, delivering quality services to our clients is at the centre of our commercial activities and paramount to our financial sustainability.
Abilities has a strong operational team that focuses on quality management, supported by a certified quality management system and related improvement programmes. Abilities is certified under ISO9001.