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New London members' club aims to attract green entrepreneurs

    by Elena Berton
    Monday, 15 April 2019 10:16 BST

DJ Siggy Smalls attends the preview party of ARBORETUM members' club, in London, United Kingdom, April 11, 2019. Getty/ Dave Bennett HANDOUT via Thomson Reuters Foundation

Arboretum is a meeting and coworking space that aims to attract socially minded entrepreneurs keen to collaborate and make a tangible impact on the environment

By Elena Berton

LONDON  - Green-minded entrepreneurs seeking respite from London's concrete jungle will soon have a new space where they can relax, mingle and conceive the next planet-saving breakthrough.

Breaking away from mainstream members' clubs, Arboretum is a meeting and coworking space launching in April 2019 that aims to attract socially minded entrepreneurs keen to collaborate and make a tangible impact on the environment.

"A traditional members' club is about elitism and exclusivity," hospitality entrepreneur and founder Ronald Ndoro told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"It's basically about people meeting and socialising, drinking with no particular purpose in mind other than networking.

"The difference here is we are trying to build a community of people who want to make a difference, people who want to make a social impact," he added.

It is not the first private members' club in London seeking to make a difference.

Last year saw the opening of The Conduit, a club for "people passionate about driving social change" whose founder members included business leaders and high-profile figures from the media and human rights sectors.

Ndoro said he hoped Arboretum, located a few steps away from the bustle of London's famous Trafalgar Square, would help spur groundbreaking conversations and innovative ideas.

The greenery-filled space brims with luscious plant life and sports a ceiling garden and a coworking space set in an indoor forest.

Shingai Shoniwa attends the preview party of ARBORETUM members' club, in London, United Kingdom, April 11, 2019. Getty/ Dave Bennett HANDOUT via Thomson Reuters Foundation

There are also plans for climate awareness initiatives, which would encourage members to cycle and walk to the club.

"In the world right now you have people with a lot of ideas. What's missing it's the ability to collaborate on those ideas and turn them into tangible change, or tangible transformation," Ndoro said.

"So the idea is to bring people together, put all the ideas on the table, pick the best ones and then create a community to work together and makes those changes happen."

The launch of Arboretum coincides with the introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London, whereby vehicles that do not meet strict exhaust emission standards will be liable for a daily charge to enter the area.

The capital has breached both World Health Organization standards and its own legal limits for air quality every year since implementing them in 2010, according to Breathe London, the air-pollution mapping project backed by Mayor Sadiq Khan.

An exhibition of photographs by Adrian Houston, who has travelled the world photographing trees that hold a special meaning for people, is the first event to kick off Arboretum's activities.

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