By Diane Eyre, Associate Consultant with The Charity Retail Consultancy

I was thrilled to be able to attend the recent Charitable Recycling Australia conference in Sydney Australia on behalf of The Charity Retail Consultancy.

This was the first time the sector had been together since 2019 so there was a real sense of anticipation and expectation. It was also the first time representatives from the sector in the UK had been involved, with the Consultancy and Robin from the Charity Retail Association both in attendance

Charitable Recycling Australia champions the circular economy and wants to see Australia sending zero waste to landfill to create a better future for all, and is similar to the Charity Retail Association that we’re part of here in the UK.

The first day of the conference focused on recycling and re-using – and discussing the role Op Shops (as charity shops are called in Australia) in  the circular economy. There was also much talk around the future of exporting second hand clothing and the high probability that this will be reduced and eventually prohibited in Australia. As a result, most charities focus heavily on finding alternatives to textile merchants and on moving their stock around.

Managing donated stock

From my observations, whilst this is future focused and preparing for this eventuality, it sometimes results in stock being stored, moved, or handled multiple times, all of which adds cost, journeys and reduces the value of stock. It was also clear that rather than feel blessed with plenty of stock, a lot of charities felt overwhelmed by the volume, whilst limited by capability and capacity.

Robust stock management can improve efficiencies, make stock savings, and ensure the best use of donations. We hope our Charity Retail Learning course on Stock Processing with its stock analysis tools and good practice tips will help our Australian charity retail cousins with analysing their logistics and improving cost effectiveness

Sustainability opportunities

We know there’s an opportunity for charity retail chains in the UK to better promote their important role in the circular economy and to use this USP to gain new donors, customers and volunteers. As charity retail becomes a pivotal mover and shaker in the fashion arena, these are important considerations for all, but particularly for the Gen Z future customer. Charity Retail Learning offers courses across social engagement and marketing including social media, green credentials for charity retailers and even internal engagement. You can see these here

Charity retail best practice & innovation

The key theme of Day 2 of the conference was promoting retail best practice with seminars around volunteering, marketing, and using data to inform decisions. I saw a real appetite for innovation with a lot of thinking about integrating social enterprise For example, we were lucky enough to hear from Jana Zurkova about RREUSE, an international network representing social enterprises active in re-use, repair and recycling, providing local and inclusive employment as well as a strong sense of belonging. Check out their website at

Our brand new marketing service is a great place to start if you’re thinking of how your can promote your charity retail offer more effectively

Op shops & charity shops – sharing our skills

The Australian network of Op Shops have similar challenges to the ones we are seeing in the UK around staff and volunteer shortages, quality of donations and rising costs. There’s lots of synergy between our sector in the UK and Australia, and indeed across the world, with opportunity to share and promote good practice. There was a consensus that we should be working together more and I really felt that our presence at the conference was a positive start.

Thank you to Omer and the team at Charitable Recycling Australia for having us – it was great to meet global sector colleagues and we look forward to working closely with you in the future.

If you would like to get in touch with the Charity Retail Consultancy, we’d love to talk to you about what we do and how we can help you – you can check out all our services below.

The Charity Retail Consultancy helps charity retailers and other non-profits (including museums and galleries) develop their retail operation, improve their product offer and people, and improve their profitability.

The Charity Retail Learning provides online & face to face training developed by charity retailers, for charity retailers. We work in partnership with the Charity Retail Association to deliver Charity Retail Learning to their members and beyond.

The Charity Retail Coach offers a first class executive coaching service via our Associate, Dan O’Driscoll.

The Charity Retail Marketeer can support you with all your charity’s marketing needs

The Charity Retail Merchandiser helps you create stunning and profitable displays in store and online

To find out more or to speak to us about how we can help you, please get in touch:

Jayne – 07598 243210

Vicki – 07985 574904

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