Auckland companies are invited to take part in XLabs, a new programme to help businesses build a more economically and environmentally sustainable future for themselves and the region.

XLabs is Auckland’s first circular economy lab, happening in February and March 2020 - a series of five one-day workshops and two events, that teaches businesses how to use circular economy principles to solve business challenges.

The 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, using, then disposing of products.

Pam Ford, General Manager Economic Development for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) says the organisation worked with the Sustainable Business Network last year to understand how Auckland could benefit from moving to a circular economy.

“We found Auckland could be $6-$8 billion better off, with much lower carbon emissions by 2030. We could create new economic opportunities for our businesses and our people, and enable a more resilient future for Auckland.”

“We also discovered a lack of awareness and understanding about how circular economy principles apply to business and industry. We found Auckland businesses need information, tools and skills to enable them to use these ideas to create new opportunities and reduce their reliance on finite resources,” says Pam.

To help businesses, ATEED has joined forces with Auckland company Circularity, which will run XLabs early in 2020.

Louise Nash, Founder and CEO of Circularity, says XLabs combines cutting-edge thinking and proven real-world models from sustainability, technology and science.

“We seek Auckland businesses from the consumer goods, built environment, tourism and transport sectors to bring their teams and challenges to XLabs. They will be guided through our Circular by Design methodology to help them accelerate their innovation towards a more resilient future using six simple steps.”

The teams of three to six people from 25 participating companies will work alongside other businesses and leading circular thinking experts to build their knowledge, capability and skills.

“The teams will work with circular experts, scientists, technologists and creative minds. They will learn about resource-use, circular economy strategies, and work together to create innovative circular solutions for real-life business challenges Auckland companies are facing,” says Louise.

“We’ll share real-world examples of circular business models from around the world and expert knowledge in emerging technology, smart materials, waste, packaging, carbon emissions and regenerative practices.”

Participants will be supported through a process to ideate, prototype and market test circular economy innovations, then pitch their ideas to potential funders.

Companies interested in taking part can register their interest at Circularity will work with the companies to assess the challenges the businesses want to tackle and the opportunity XLabs can provide.

XLabs runs from February 28 to March 27, with a launch event on 27 February and a pitch event on 31 March.

Melanya Burrows
Communications Manager Economic Development