The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change has made the economic case for addressing environmental damage. Chartered Society of Designers chief executive Frank Peters says this presents opportunities for designers. How should the industry rise to – and benefit from – this challenge?
Confess. You and I are guilty of fuelling the furnace of this environmental damage. It’s not an opportunity, but a moral responsibility for us to make amends. We’ve stimulated a materialistic society obsessed with the latest stuff, unnecessary makeovers and a buy-now, let-future-generations-pay-later attitude. Our duty must be to imagine and deliver a less consumeristic future by designing sustainable services that entice people to share, borrow or hire, but not own, what they need.
Oliver King, Director, Engine (pictured)
I think we will look back and see 2006 as the tipping point for this issue. Awareness is growing faster than trash volumes at Wandsworth dump. Those who facilitate the manufacture of products need to tread carefully. Increasingly, governments are using climate change as a lever for extra tax. Watch out if you own a car, house or use filament light bulbs. The challenge is for designers to know the real issues and raise them to their clients. Oh, and design products that last, cycle to work and share your bath water.
Patrick Hunt, Creative director, Therefore
If we believe that good design is about making life better, then the design industry and all its bodies should make the case for environmentally informed designers to hold an influential place of power at governmental, educational and commercial level. At the same time, design businesses should take responsibility upon themselves and practice what they preach.
Jonathan Ford, Creative partner, Pearlfisher
Sustainability offers a world of opportunities to improve quality of life and create value for individuals, communities and the company. I believe that socially and environmentally sound behaviour contributes to sustained profitable growth and value creation. Philips Design defines value as something that is socially relevant, culturally appropriate and individually meaningful. It has a programme called Green Flagship products, which must be proven to offer substantially better environmental performance than their predecessors or closest commercial competitors. These products now account for a turnover of €2bn (£1.3bn), double that of 2004.
Oscar Pena, Creative director, Philips (pictured)