An IT social enterprise creates jobs for people with disabilities, by refurbishing used business hardware for Siemens.

Social and Green IT | AfB and Siemens

AfB social & green IT

AfB is Europe’s largest non-profit IT company. They collect used IT and mobile devices from corporate clients, which they refurbish and remarket after certified data deletion. Through this refurbishment service, the company is able to extend the product life cycle of technologies, conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. AfB is a three-time winner of the German Sustainability Award - from 2012, 2021, and 2024.

But this social enterprise doesn’t only contribute to the circular economy.  Its primary mission is to help people with severe disabilities enter the labor market. Already operating in Germany, France, Slovakia, Austria and Switzerland, their objective is to create jobs for 500 people with disabilities throughout Europe. Currently, employees with disabilities represent half of the company’s workforce. AfB has already received several awards for its inclusive business model, including the award "European Social Firm of the Year 2020".

When it comes to refurbishing operations, AfB employees can choose from a variety of distinct areas of responsibility, from picking up the devices to data deletion, refurbishment, and shipping, to administration and sales. This allows people to be optimally deployed based on their personal strengths.


“We started our partnership with Siemens on a small scale and continually developed it further. In our many years of collaboration, we have learned a lot from each other and developed and improved both services and products together. Such as our AfB notebook box, in which the devices are stored safely and padded for transport and transported in accordance with dangerous goods. We are very proud of this collaboration."

Daniel Büchle, Managing Director at AfB


The partnership with Siemens

Siemens, one of the largest industrial manufacturing companies in Europe, holds a diverse portfolio of products, ranging from technology, energy, healthcare, mobility, and software, to industrial automation. 

The partnership between Siemens and AfB began when an employee from a local Siemens branch went shopping in the AfB shop in Ettlingen and learned about the company. The first collaboration between this local branch and AfB began soon afterwards and was so successful that it eventually turned into a nationwide cooperation with Siemens Germany. 



The two companies have already been collaborating for over ten years. In Germany alone, Siemens operates over 80,000 IT workplaces, where hardware needs regular replacement for security or technological reasons. However, the devices are still fully functional for small businesses or private individuals. AfB collects and refurbishes these devices, reintroducing them into the economic cycle. Depending on their age and condition, some devices are recycled, while most are refurbished and remarketed. Comprehensive, certified data deletion is performed, followed by cleaning, reprocessing, testing, and redistribution for secondary use. In addition to achieving a positive ecological balance, AfB and Siemens contribute to a more socially just working environment. Through this partnership, AfB has created 14 regular jobs for people with disabilities over the course of ten years.



“Our cooperation with AfB is a great example of how business concerns can be balanced with those of the environment and society. We entrust our discarded IT hardware to a reliable and socially committed partner whose data security processes are of the highest standard and who ensures sustainable reuse.”

Hanna Hennig, CIO Siemens



The Impact 

14 jobs created for people with disabilities.

115,000 devices from Siemens, with a total weight of 678.30 tons were remanufactured.

10,780,094 liters of water, 41,989,125 kWh of primary energy and 5,859,159 kg of raw materials were saved thanks to refurbishment, compared to new production.