Sustainability is being used increasingly to describe what were previously referred to as eco-friendly, environmental or Green initiatives. Is there a more elegant term that best sums up this important movement?

I don’t like the ‘S’ word myself. It is not a word that reflects movement towards change, but rather a static position of survival (and it is a pain to typeset). Michael Braungart says that if you asked someone how their marriage was and they replied ‘sustainable’, you would offer your condolences. He uses the term ‘eco efficiency’, which I prefer. However, we have spent years debating such terms and now is the time to crack on with the task in hand.
Sophie Thomas, Director, Thomas Matthews





Sustainability is a broad term with economic, social and ecological dimensions. It has been hijacked by the environmental lobby to apply exclusively to climate change and ecology, but it’s a much bigger idea than that. It could be argued that inclusive design is integral to sustainability. What’s wrong with Green design as a term? It’s simple and straightforward, and all about contributing to a healthier ecology on the planet.
Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design, Royal College of Art






Sustainable is broader then Green. It implies being able to carry on indefinitely with quality for all. ‘Fair’ is better. Achieving a fair balance between people, planet and profit; between our generation and future ones; between peoples; social equity with resource efficiency.
Dorothy Mackenzie, Chairwoman, Dragon Rouge







Sustainability isn’t a market, a space or a discipline. It’s the precondition for life on Earth. So rather than a new label, we need to ask: will my design help the biosphere support all life, including ours, indefinitely?
John Thackara, Director of www.doorsofperception.com and Designs of the Time







Sustainability is about using resources wisely, but Green design is reactionary. Many designers have accepted the idea that growth is bad and we should recycle like mad. What happened to our ambition of making the world a better place for everyone? Of innovating, rather than restricting? Of more, rather than less?
Tim Rich, Writer


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