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A little change goes a long way

Updated Thursday 16th September 2010

Neha Mehta and Anderson McClean from Newzeye Ltd talk about their work in publishing and marketing for brownfield regeneration and sustainable building This interview was recorded at the ecobuild 2010 event in London, UK

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Interviewer:  So if you can just give us your name and tell us what you’re doing, the organisation you work for?

Neha:  Well I work in Newzeye Ltd which is a publishing and we do conferences as well, although these are all on a varied range of environmental issues and sustainable building.  Brownfield Briefing is the major publication that we do.  We also do a lot of supplements all round the, on various issues related to environment, climate change, flooding, mining, etc.  Whatever is the upcoming issue, so.  

Interviewer:  Thanks.  Anderson what’s your role?

Anderson:  I’m Marketing Executive and Assistant Conference Organiser at Newzeye.  So I help produce the conferences that we hold around our publications and that’s in the sustainable area, brownfield and waste and recycling.  I also do any of the marketing.  I help with any of the marketing around that area as well.

Interviewer:  Had you been engaged in environment or sustainability issues before you came to this job?

Anderson:  No.  My previous job was in a property law firm, and I wanted something within the property sector, saw this, saw the vacancy and thought oh it would be an interesting thing to go into, so that’s why I applied for it.

Neha:  Well Newzeye is a part of the Clarendon Group, which is into property development.  But as a, they saw a niche market in this area of sustainability and brownfield sector, and that’s why they started doing publications and conferences and like they cover a whole spectrum, as I said, from energy efficiency, refurb, retrofit, climate change.  So they have done quite a lot of, you know, varied subject matters they’ve covered all throughout, since like nine, ten years we’ve been in this sector.

Interviewer:  So the fortunes of this business must be quite a good indicator of the fortunes of the environmental and sustainable building industry.  Is that fair to say?  Can you tell me a bit about how things are going?

Neha:  Well obviously it was, it started off very well and.  I mean since five, six years the company has established itself like in the industry, the whole sustainable and energy efficiency industry has grown quite a bit.  But obviously it has been hit by the recession like every other industry so.  But still it’s picking up soon, very soon, so, yes, it’s not bad as compared to other sectors, yeah.

Interviewer:  Do you want to add anything to that Anderson?

Anderson:  Yeah, I mean as Neha said, it is picking up.  Of course the recession played a part in seeing things, turning a little rocky for a bit.  One of our publications, Sustainable Building, which is more so tied to the construction arena and, you know, anything to do with the construction, sustainable construction, we did see a change in how we had to market that and.

Neha:  Yeah, we did a simple publication called Property Forecast.  But now Sustainable Building also incorporates Property Forecast, so.

Anderson:  Property Forecast as well.  So that for us…

Neha:  We have to, you know, mould ourselves and be a bit flexible so the content of the publications changes to whatever is upcoming in the market, whatever the current interest is in the market, so yeah we have to adapt.

Interviewer:  And if you were going to look five, ten years out, do you have any feeling for the kinds of materials that the market that you serve are going to be looking for? Do you feel that you’re inevitably in a growth market working in this stuff or is it always going to be quite a discreet niche of the construction industry?

Neha:  I mean we are a bit positive, the law especially is, you know, we have CRC, the law is going to kick in, in 2012.  So most of the companies that fall into that criteria have to compulsorily be aware, and climate, carbon reduction is going to compensating for a lot of the companies.  So it will be inevitable for the companies to come to players like us to, you know, to get trained or get information or any sort of help to help them comply with these regulations.  So we are quite positive of where we are at the moment.

Interviewer:  Do you want to add anything to that Anderson?

Anderson:  No, she’s covered it.

Presenter:  She gave very elegant answers and it’s all there.

Anderson:  Yeah.

Presenter:  Just to throw in a last question, I mean you must be talking to dozens of people across the course of this event who work in this sector.  If you look ten years out, are you more optimist or pessimist in terms of this industry getting to grips with sustainability issues and really taking them seriously?

Neha:  Definitely very positive.  I mean if you even see five years back the buildings or be it refurbishment or any project, they were less focusing on, you know, being compliant with, I mean as the years have passed by more and more focus has been given to make buildings more energy efficient, reducing carbon and now even the law is coming to, you know, support that.  So it’s going to be definitely more and more important for people to comply with it, yeah.

Presenter:  Anderson, are there any anecdotes from working with, you know, from marketing this product that help us get an indicator of that?  I mean when you put together an event or when you look to attract interest for the magazine, are there any stories or particular kind of examples that you could think of that help to illustrate why you feel optimistic?

Anderson:  Well right now we’re planning a conference into changing law, and all dealing with legislation, policy, everything that’s been happening, and we’ve been getting a remarkable amount of interest in that particular one.  More so I think then a lot of the other areas because that’s the key thing right now.  The law, the change in law, everything that’s going to be coming in and what lawyers and other people think, you know, are going to be needed and the changes that are going to happen within the future.  So it’s looking at the landscape.  It’s covering from now and, you know, into the future, maybe say in ten years that you’re looking.  So we’ve been getting a lot of interest from environmental and environmental agencies, local authorities, all people who are going to be hit most and who need to transform their operations and change the way they do things by it.  So that is the one thing that sits in my head right now.  I also have cases of the flooding and the flooding conference as well coming up and with everything that’s happened this year, last year as well, with the flooding, you get a lot of interest in those particular areas.

So I realise it’s the areas that we are being hit with more so that we’re getting a lot of interest from.  So and with a lot of people, it just seems to be there are things that are affecting them right at this point in time, and I think that’s and the whole thing of it and the whole industry, we don’t really do, a lot of people don’t do anything until they’re actually faced with the problem firsthand and then after that their operation is to meet it.  

Presenter:  And of course that’s true for businesses you’re working on, working with, but I want to know if that’s true of you.  I mean I don’t know whether you may have, like Anderson, didn’t have an interest in environment beforehand.  Do you think that from here on your own thinking about the world has been changed by working with these issues or do you consider it as something you leave at the office?

Neha:  No.  I mean obviously it’s good to know more but as an individual I think everybody nowadays especially, we are concerned about right from flooding issues to even at home just recycling basics.  We are concerned about more energy efficient ways of using, you know, instruments at our home, more and more people switch to energy efficient and environmental friendly instruments and gadgets.  So personally everybody is getting more and more aware each day so it’s not something that we would leave or anybody would leave.  There’s going to be in the industry and not like every minute detail of it and be aware of the upcoming changes and keep abreast of it, yes it’s good.

Presenter:  And Anderson.

Neha:  Yes.

Presenter:  Any last words?

Anderson:  No, the same thing goes here.  I think I’m a little bit more conscious of how much I’m printing now, you know, even though we have our recycling bins for any waste paper, you know, you realise okay I can’t print every single email, you know, I’ll file it away because I’m just going to throw it away at the end of the day.  Even in my home life I’m recycling a lot more, which is a big change for me, and turning off lights, which my mother’s quite happy about.  So and you just find little changes that you’re making in life and work and at home, it makes a big difference.




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