Who can be trusted on environmental issues?
There is no such thing as a strictly environmental product or an entirely Green company. Every product, service and system has a tremendous impact on the environment. But some products, services and systems are more environmentally benign than others. How, therefore, can we justify their claims to be “environmentally friendly”?
It is time to bring environmental issues within design out of the closet. There’s no gold in the hills, only ways to assess the environmental impact like the life cycle analysis at the material process stage, eco-labelling schemes at product level, and environmental audits and impact assessment at the company level. We have to grapple with eco-management and audit schemes and BS 7750, ISO 14001 on the “environmental management system”.
Companies are expressing great concern at the growth of legislation and are constantly trying to interpret the messages from their markets. They are being told to give their consumers more environmental information and to do it clearly and honestly. They are encouraged to consider their environmental costs as a long-term but potentially worthwhile investment.
This raises many important professional and ethical issues for designers, especially in helping businesses to achieve “sustainable development”.
On the website at http:/ /www. dmu.ac.uk/esarri//Environ.html> you can enter the debate by giving your views on business attitudes to environmental issues. Your views are valued and the results of the survey will be sent to all respondents in due course.
Department of Design Management.
De Montfort University
Leicester LE1 9BH