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First companies confirmed for circular economy programme, XLabs

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Fletcher Building, Haka Tourism Group, fashion brand Ruby, electric ferry start-up EV Maritime, children’s footwear business Bobux and fourth generation Pukekohe growers Balle Bros will be taking part in XLabs.

XLabs is a series of five one-day workshops run over five weeks, February - March 2020, bookended by two events. It has been founded by Auckland company Circularity, in partnership with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Auckland’s economic development agency.

The participating companies will bring a team and a real-life business problem they want to solve to XLabs. They will work with other participants, circular experts, designers, scientists and technologists to learn how to use circular economy principles to solve the challenges.

A circular economy designs out waste and pollution, keeps products and materials in use and regenerates natural systems, in contrast to the existing, unsustainable economic model of taking natural resources, making products, using, then disposing of them.

Transitioning to a circular economy could make Auckland up to $6-$8 billion better off, with lower carbon emissions by 2030, building a more economically and environmentally sustainable future for the region.

ATEED General Manager - Economic Development Pam Ford says ATEED is pleased by the range of companies interested in gaining skills, experience and knowledge in circular economy principles.

"It’s great to see companies signing up from sectors that are critical to Auckland building a sustainable future.

"We know from our work with the Sustainable Business Network in 2018, Auckland’s construction, transport and food sectors could see a combined potential economic boost of $4.6 billion from waste and carbon reduction, resource and labour savings. We need Auckland companies to put these ideas into action," says Pam Ford.

Circularity founder Louise Nash says a wide range of Auckland companies have been enthusiastic about taking part in the programme and are motivated to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing businesses today.

"We are working with companies to understand their ambitions for the future and how XLabs can help them co-create a circular solution that will make a tangible, positive impact. Across a wide range of challenges, the one thing they all have in common is their motivation to unlock better ways of doing business that will contribute to a resilient, regenerative economy," says Louise Nash.

"Challenges range from redirecting construction waste from landfill, to creating circular supply chains for the fashion industry and exploring how might businesses enrich the communities they interact with. We look forward to announcing the balance of participating companies over the coming weeks," says Louise Nash.

The first companies’ XLabs goals include:

Fletcher Building - how the company might deconstruct a building (or parts of a building) to create a circular economy within Fletcher Building and its wider community.

EV Maritime - embedding circular economy principles to help decarbonise Auckland’s harbour, starting with the design, construction and life cycle of EV Maritime ferries.

Balle Bros - designing a scalable model for how Balle Bros packages and transports its produce from the Auckland region in more naturally restorative ways.

Ruby - knowing that circularity is one answer to the challenges we face as a society, ensuring the long-term viability of it in the business.

Haka Tourism Group - working as a force of good, to explore and establish circular economy practices that enrich the communities, culture and places that its tours interact with.

Bobux - as a business with a responsibility to look after future generations, seeing how New Zealand’s first circular economy lab can aid Bobux in its delivery to this responsibility.

Participating companies will share their challenges and team at the XLabs launch event on Thursday, 27 February, and then share their prototype circular solutions at the XLabs pitch event on Tuesday, 31 March.

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