Ecodesign Centre Wales this week reports back to the Welsh Assembly on its programme to embed sustainable design in business, with the ultimate aim of establishing Wales as an eco design-led nation.
The year-long, publicly funded scheme selected four Welsh businesses last July from a list of 200, and provided them with sustainability expertise, business support and £20 000 each to invest in ecodesign initiatives.
Commercial seating design company Orangebox has spent the year working to achieve cradle-to-cradle certification, which analyses the recyclability of materials used in products.
The Knobbly Carrot Food Company has worked with BWA Design to create new packs, swapping tubs for light -weight pouches, which EDCW claims will shrink the packs’ carbon footprint by 44 per cent.
Laser manufacturer Global Laser has developed an energyefficient laser diode, while solar panel manufacturer G24i has launched its first consumer product, a solar-powered mobile phone charger aimed at developing countries.
EDCW director Frank O’Con – nor says while companies might initially have been attracted by the £20 000 grants, they ‘have come on in leaps and bounds in taking responsibility for sustainability issues’.
O’Connor believes that bestowing confidence in their abilities to tackle Green issues is the crucial factor in embedding eco design in businesses with design capabilities.
‘I have been involved in judging awards, and find that very few businesses are entering Green categories,’ he says. ‘Companies lack confidence and don’t want to risk being criticised for not being Green enough. But busi nesses should realise that as long as they are going in the right direction, that is good progress.’
Orangebox designer Luke Palmer praises the programme for accelerating his company’s interest in gaining cradle-tocradle accreditation.
‘EDCW put work together that we should, would and could have done ourselves if our day-to-day project work did not get in the way,’ says Palmer. ‘Also, everyone in a company sits up and listens when you bring in an expert.’
Three members of EDCW will visit London this week to attend the first ever Green – gaged event, part of the Lond – on Design Festival. Organised jointly by design group Thomas Matthews, Redesign, Arup, Kingston University and Three Trees Don’t Make a Forest, Greengaged will run seminars, workshops and events through – out the week that address how to embed sustainable design principles in industry.
‘There must be a way of linking up designers with buyers looking for help with sustainability issues,’ says Thomas Matthews partner Sophie Thomas. She is inviting design ers to help create a Greengaged manifesto for publication next month.
‘Beyond this event at LDF, we would like to build ways that allow people to start talking to each other,’ says Thomas.
• Debate on the challenges for delivering a sustainable Olympics with key players from the London 2012 design team
• Rob Holdway, presenter of Channel 4’s Dumped, hosts a canal boat trip to a waste recycling centre to showcase the importance of ‘designing in’ reuse and recyclability
• Michael Braungart, co-author of publication Cradle to Cradle: Re-making the Way We Make Things, in conversation at the Royal Society of Arts
• Practical workshops on bringing sustainable thinking to design groups and projects, packaging and sustainable print and paper
• Greengaged takes place at the Des ign Council, Covent Garden, London WC2 until 23 September