Accreditation? We were aware in the 1950s, says CSD

In your leader (Comment, DW 12 June) you address the question of ‘accreditation’, with reference to sustainability, in a rhetorical and negative manner.

The design sector is made up of ‘design users’ and ‘design education’, not just ‘design providers’. For these other stakeholders, the issue of accreditation is not a negative, and is, and has been for some time, integral to the metrics of business and education, not least to those operating in a global context.

Design businesses may operate differently to other businesses, but can they continue to do so in an economy that is democratising and empowering all stakeholders? The criticism most often levelled at design by clients is that it is out of touch with the business world, a situation that design needs to address if it wishes to maintain its client base, operate strategically and reap the rewards.

Sustainability is a key performance indicator for consumers, so businesses are delivering on this issue. It is sad that you pose such a question of design when ‘design providers’ have been ahead of the game in terms of sustainability thinking from the 1960s onwards.

The Chartered Society of Designers recognised issues of sustainability in its criteria for assessing membership as far back as the 1950s, and it is incorporated in its code of conduct. Sustainability is one of the key criteria in the six-stage process to achieve Design Association accreditation, and students need sustainability modules to achieve CSD design course recognition. Within the CSD’s new ‘genetic matrix’ (a framework for professional practice), issues of sustainability are determined as part of a wider notion of ethics and values.

Awareness campaigns may have a role, but the CSD, its members and stakeholders have decided to lead by example.

Frank Peters, Chief executive, Chartered Society of Designers and the Design Association

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