Aidan Bell of EnviroBuild talks to Denise Beedell in the first in a series of articles featuring the winners from the FSB Celebrating Small Business London Area Finals held on 19 March.
EnviroBuild was founded by James Brueton in 2015, with Aidan coming on board at the start of 2016. They had previously worked together as Consultants at Deloitte.
Aidan had experience in the circular economy sector having run a solar energy company before, whilst James had gone on to set up a hedge fund which taught them the nuts and bolts of setting up a company from scratch.
James' spark for starting EnviroBuild was the difficulty he encountered trying to find ecologically sensitive building products for a property development project they were working on.
Their first product was composite decking made from off-cuts from the furniture industry mixed with recycled plastics and they now have a range of products for decking, cladding and fencing, with paving and garden furniture planned in the near future.
Aidan says, “We have plans to diversify from being a niche product supplier to become a platform for supplying products that offer real functionality as well as significant environmental benefits ahead of traditional construction materials. Our shared core principles mean that we will only supply products that cause minimal harm to the environment.
“We have a passion for sustainable living and want to grow EnviroBuild to become the leader in the field of sustainable products, and be an internet disruptor, challenging the construction supply industry leaders such as B&Q and Travis Perkins.
“Our biggest challenge is actually being in London, with the high cost of overheads, but as both of us live in London this is where the business is based.
Originally Brixton-based, they have recently moved into Sustainable Bankside as the business has grown and they now have 21 full-time-equivalent employees.
Aidan notes, “The best thing about running a business is that I can influence the company culture and have a free rein on strategy. It’s also great to be able to make charitable donations to causes that are important to me and James.”
A good work life balance is important to them both, and they try to keep weekends for relaxing. They also enjoy holidaying in far flung places such as Guatemala, Belize, Nepal and Costa Rica, happily combining business with pleasure on these trips as the business develops.
Closer to home the favourite part of London for Aidan is “unquestionably Richmond Park” near his home in Sutton, although the vibes of Brixton Market and the Southbank are also special.
EnviroBuild won the Ethical Business of the Year in the London Area finals.