I have been making lower impact choices for clients spaces for a long time now. All thanks for my educational time early in my career at The Body Shop HQ. At times it has felt a bit of a lonely experience. Answers have taken a long time to come back from any suppliers who I'm quizzing. I ask questions of suppliers that we'd ask at The Body Shop - and still 25 years later I'm not hearing positive answers back. What sort of questions? Well, the headline ones were: Are you using sustainable timber? Does this product contain animal products? Does this product have a recycled content? Does this contain PVC? Paint: what is the VOC content, are the ingredients or the end product tested on animals? These were just a small amount of them.
It's no good just doing this alone with the relatively small buying power of my business. I'm never going to make change in my industry. I've really wanted to inspire others to do work in the way I do - so I have put myself out of my comfort zone to talk in panel discussions and podcasts as well as writing articles and social media content. It's a been a great experience. I've met more and more people working in a similar way. We have more influence on our industry together. I've become more and more involved in my professional body the BIID - and I'm volunteering on two committees (Professional Practice and Sustainability) to increase our commitment and continued education. We are supporting our fellow members on both how we work for clients as well as how we operate our businesses more sustainably.
This year fellow commitee members Simone Suss, Brian Woulfe and I decided to form the Interior Design version of the Declarations that have been made within the wider Built Environment industry. We discovered others had shown an interest - so we gathered them us with us too. In March 2021 we published our declaration Interior Design Declares. As we were the first country to have this declaration - we are encouring interior designers in other countries to make their own declaration. If you are a design company or a supplier of goods or services to our industry - please join us!