With the word itself putting many consumers off, sustainability has become tainted with rampant greenwashing and misleading communication. And, while the headline may appear obvious, few organisations understand it fully. In the early stages of what will be a defining decade to come, it’s time over for business as usual to ensure a change in mindset filters across every company and sustainability becomes an inherent business value.
When addressing the design industry, sustainability is a complex subject. It has so many facets, a lot of unknowns and also solicits a variety of conflicting opinions. Often, when one solution is found, it unearths a lot more complications with it. That being said, one thing remains clear: the function sustainability plays within each individual organisation will shape it for years to come.
It isn’t about developing communications to sit in line with what you think your brand offers, it needs to run through every aspect of the organisation. And, in embracing this as a core mindset, it will automatically become evident to those engaging with the company where your priorities lie.
For designers starting out, if you don’t hold sustainability as a basic principle which is embedded into the functionality of your business, don’t start at all. As extreme as that may sound, we unfortunately are not in a position to keep generating products and work for the sake of beautiful aesthetics. I agree a product must be desirable and design-led, but without the conscious production behind it, or an added benefit it will bring to an environment, it doesn’t have a place in the sustainable future we working hard to achieve.