Greengaged eyes up global franchise

Greengaged, the sustainable design element of last year’s London Design Festival, could be franchised around the world this year.

There are also initial plans for the event to visit the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

Greengaged co-founders Redesign and Thomas Matthews are in discussions with third parties about exporting the event to the US, where they say sustainable design website Renourish is interested in running it in Chicago.

A Greengaged event may also take place in Singapore, under the auspices of the Design Singapore Council.

Thomas Matthews founder Sophie Thomas says, ‘We would leave them to organise the events themselves, partly because it would increase our carbon footprint to travel around the world doing it.’

Thomas believes that the ‘workshop and action-based format’ will enable it to be exported well around the world.

Greengaged launched last year at the London Design Festival. Comprising workshops and seminars about sustainable design, it included one event that involved a day trip for designers to a construction landfill site. Kingston University, with Arup and Three Trees Don’t Make a Forest, helped to organise the inaugural event, hosted by the UK’s Design Council.

‘There would be a concentrated run of Greengageds around the world, beginning after its second outing at LDF,’ explains Thomas. ‘Our ambition then is to collect highlights and conclusions from all of those events and take them to the UN Climate Change Conference.’

Thomas is looking ‘ideally’ for an exhibition space in the Danish capital to host ‘a very interactive’ Greengaged event. ‘But we will have a presence there, even if it means writing on the pavement,’ she says.

The world’s media, as well as politicians and climate change charities, will descend on Copenhagen for the conference from 7-18 December.

‘We are determined to get design on to the global sustainability agenda. You can have a huge impact at the conference, even if you are on the fringe,’ says Thomas.

The Danish government hopes that the 15th UN Climate Change Conference will result in a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, evolving the Kyoto agreement to take into account the fact that China, not the US, is now the world’s biggest emitter of CO2.

‘While the UK lags behind in other areas of sustainability, we are in pole position in terms of sustainable design. If we can take the leap in pushing sustainable design, then we will become world leaders in it,’ says Thomas.

Thomas reports that organisations in China and South Korea are also interested in hosting Greengaged events. ‘We may not be able to do all of those this year, but we plan to do at least two’, she says.

Greengaged around the world

US – a Greengaged event in Chicago would be organised by Renourish, a Web-based initiative (at www.re-nourish.com) that aims to help packaging and graphic designers to work more sustainably. It is run by assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Illinois Eric Benson

Singapore – this Greengaged event would be run by the country’s equivalent of the UK’s Design Council, the Design Singapore Council. The event would take place during Singapore Design Festival in November

China and South Korea – organisations in these two countries are also talking to Greengaged’s organisers about setting up franchises of the event

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