The Design Council is to axe its sustainability project leader post, Design Week has learned.
The decision comes as a surprise, following assertions that sustainability is ‘the defining issue’ for the organisation at its ‘Wake up to sustainability’ event, held at the London Design Festival only last month.
Design Council chief executive David Kester (pictured) declined to comment on the decision to terminate the role, held by Clare Brass, but said that sustainability would underpin all of the organisation’s programmes going forward. Although sustainability will not have a dedicated programme, Kester says, it will be a common element to its programmes for business, skills and public outreach.
The programme for the integration of design into business, Designing Demand, the skills programme, in conjunction with the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and Designs of the Time 07 are key areas where sustainable design will be ‘embedded’ into the Design Council’s work.
‘Design is a driver for change, but the things that will make a real difference will be shared business, education and policy thinking,’ says Kester. ‘It’s about joining things up.
There is a market for environmental businesses and products. It is the clever designer that is involved from the start.’ But while programmes like Dott have a clear agenda to promote the role of design in providing solutions to environmental and sustainable challenges, there is concern that without a dedicated function, sustainability will simply become an ‘add-on’ to Design Council programmes.