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Exclusive Interview: John-Paul Savant, CEO at ATG Media

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Photo by Phil Adams

John-Paul Savant is a seasoned international business leader with 21 years’ experience, 16 of which have been spent in high growth digital companies whose success came from delivering exceptional value to customers.

He has held a range of leadership roles spanning general management, product management, customer experience, consumer engagement, internet strategy, finance, planning, and new market development, covering multiple geographies—primarily the UK and Europe, but also North America, the Middle East and Africa.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and a concentration in International Economics. He also holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

What is ATG Media’s sustainability mission? 

As a global pioneer of online auction portals, ATG is all about “Recycled Luxury” and “Recycled Equipment” – from antiques, tables, desks, chairs, sofas, and art, to trucks, dumpsters, joinery shops, electronics, and whole factories. We annually facilitate the sale of items worth over £2 billion through our websites thesaleroom.com, ibidder.com and bidspotter.co.uk. Items that otherwise would have a very limited market for resale, so who knows where they would end up. Recycled luxury is both environmental and fun.

What was the driver behind this?

We didn’t start with a mission of sustainability; it’s more just an outcome of what we do.  But we do believe that it’s important to raise awareness of the range, quality, and beauty of what’s available in the secondary market as many people still feel new is better. With vast amounts of disposable, short-term furniture and household items being sold today, we offer something different. We sell things that are made to last. People can get excited that they can find beautiful, useful things that are not new and that this is an acceptable way to buy.

Who does it primarily serve?

We serve the online buying population of the UK, US, and Europe. Our platform enables over 1000 auctioneers from these countries to reach a wide range of buyers, including art dealers, collectors, and casual consumers. We sell items ranging from £50 to £500,000 so the population we serve is broad. Our goal is to improve the buying experience to make auctions even more accessible to more people. We want to make it as easy to buy a 19th Century pine table from an auctioneer at the other end of the country as it would be to buy a new pine table from John Lewis.

What difference does ATG Media want to make in sustainability?

For each new table made, materials are being sourced, transported, treated, transported, assembled, transported, and probably then transported again from warehouse to shop. In providing the means to buy high quality furnishings and gifts ‘second hand’, the environmental costs of furnishing a house, for example, become tiny. The costs are essentially reduced down to the item being transported to the auction house and then from the auction house to the buyer.  And the same applies to our equipment and plant sales. Re-using high cost, resource intensive machinery reduces the need to make more.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

The main barrier is that buying at auction is not yet very prominent in public consciousness. We believe this is because until now, it has been logistically relatively clunky as well as being often quite confusing. Thesaleroom.com, we hope, will make it a far more retail-like experience and over the next few years we hope to make buying at auction a comfortable and streamline experience.  We are creating a ‘Golden Path’ buying experience to make buying at auction easy.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

We can overcome many of the barriers ourselves, but as we look to the future, we’ll need shipping and payments partners as well. And, of course, our auctioneers and bidders will play a role in shaping the experience that works best for them.

Is the antiques trade doing enough to support sustainability?

The antiques industry and the secondary market as a whole will struggle as individuals to make a difference, as it’s about changing broad-based consumer/buyer perceptions. We believe it takes an aggregator with the technology and vision to change the buying experience to make a real transformation in those perceptions and this is the challenge we are taking on on behalf of the industries we represent.

How can people – individuals and organisations – find out more about ATG Media’s sustainability mission?

The best way is to simply read the Arts and Antiques Trade Gazette. There you’ll see the huge range of items sold or available. You can also go to any of our websites: thesaleroom.com, ibidder.com, or bidspotter.co.uk.  And soon, you’ll be able to read more on our corporate home page. Or, of course, you can always talk to me.

What should investors know about the potential of the secondary auction market?

Investors should know that the secondary market is starting to gain real traction from investors.  More and more venture capital or private equity backed companies are emerging to tackle this huge industry. Arts and antiques alone are an estimated £110bn business globally and just 4-5% is sold online today, growing 20% plus annually. Industry and Commercial items represent another multi-hundred billion industry that is gradually moving online. The potential for consolidation, scale, and hyper growth is very real. We’re approaching a tipping point.

 

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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