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‘X’ marks the spot for sustainability focus

If you’re around Auckland's Wynyard Quarter, you might notice a bit of an art project going on next to Te Wero Bridge. Xero's Craig Hudson shares what it's all about - and how every company can be sustainable.

‘X’ marks the spot where a local business, schoolchildren and two Kiwi artists are working together to highlight the importance of sustainability.

At Xero, we applaud businesses that take responsibility for the effects their industry has on the environment. So much so, that we’re collaborating with one of our innovative, sustainability-driven Kiwi businesses on this eye-catching educational installation.

The ‘X’ is formed from Interbloc modular concrete blocks. These are created by Envirocon from waste concrete left over at the end of construction jobs.

An innovative answer to the issue of waste

Envirocon was founded 15 years ago, with the aim of reducing waste in the local construction industry. The team knew any construction byproduct had to be useful and not cost prohibitive in order for others in the industry to get on board. As a result, Interbloc was developed. The blocks are made from wet waste concrete and can then be used to construct bulk storage and retaining walls.

Recognising the sheer amount of construction concrete waste and taking steps to do something about it was innovative in a time before businesses were overly concerned with being environmentally-friendly. Envirocon is the first and only construction-related product stewardship scheme accredited under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

Envirocon switched over to Xero five years ago. General Manager, Jack Bright, says having a clear picture of the business’ financial situation has been instrumental in Envirocon’s growth. “Xero makes the accounts easy. Before Xero the accounts were never done right. The other software we tried was made more for accountants than for business owners and they just weren’t user-friendly.”

One eye on the future

While the Interbloc system was created with functionality in mind, for this week at least, some of these blocks serve a different purpose. Over five days, students from several Auckland primary schools will transform them into a work of art. This will help them to learn about the importance of sustainability. We’ve brought in talented Kiwi artists, Natasha Vermeulen and Kate Hursthouse, who will paint a couple of walls to remind us about the importance of sustainability.

It’s so important for kids to learn about the importance of looking after the environment. This project will serve as a permanent reminder to the ones involved. At the conclusion of the installation, the blocks will be transported back to Envirocon before they go to the schools where for some, they’ll be used as retaining walls and act as a colourful reminder to look after the environment.

Meanwhile, Envirocon has big plans of its own to help the environment. It started with moving 2,000 tonnes of concrete in its first year, to 24,000 last year. Jack is now aiming for that number to increase to 80,000 tonnes by 2022. By using Xero, Jack can work closely with Envirocon’s accountant to plan for this growth.

“At the moment, Xero fits perfectly and as we grow we imagine Xero will continue to grow with us.”

To read more about Envirocon and other small businesses doing beautiful business go to xero.com/auckland.
Craig Hudson is Xero's New Zealand country manager.
This story first appeared on Xero's blog.

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