Accreditation? Advice is more useful, says BDI

It is a matter of professional responsibility for all companies including designers to improve their understanding of sustainability issues that directly affect the discipline and sectors they specialise in.

And I am sure that the Design Council will engage the design and innovation sector bodies to ask designers what they would find most useful to assist them in gaining sustainability advice, to increase their knowledge and value to clients.

Almost without exception, sustainability issues now feature in every design brief. And it would be difficult to find a product or packaging design group not focused on engineering in end-of-life disposal strategies aimed at reducing landfill waste.

Sustainability is a complex affair where clashes occur between energy expended on recycling processes versus traditional disposal methods versus landfill waste.

The Ecodesign Centre Wales and the Waste & Resources Action Programme both have information accessible to all businesses.

There are also sector-based technology and knowledge transfer networks whose members include sector-specific sustainability experts.

Collaboration between these publicly funded organisations and a harnessing of expertise to create a service-led helpline specifically for designers might be a good use of public sector resources.

The message we hear from design consultancies and in-house design teams is a need for relevant advice and guidance in a time-efficient and accessible manner.

So, in answer to last week’s question (Comment, DW 12 June), ‘Is the design sector ready for sustainability accreditation?’, I feel sure that those design groups that have built their business model on eco ethics and a 100 per cent sustainability offer would welcome recognition for their long-standing commitment, but right now the majority need tangible help, not more paperwork.

Maxine Horn, Chief executive, British Design Innovation, by e-mail

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