Being a sustainable designer
Sustainability is the place where People, Planet and Profit meet. Being sustainable interior designer means awareness of the impact on nature as well as being equitable and having awareness for people in the industry & the supply chains we use - it’s not only about planet.
I’m extremely fortunate in that Sustainability has been a part of how I work since early in my career in the mid nineties. I was lucky to be a designer in the retail design team at The Body Shop International’s head office. The company’s retail spaces had to match up to the values and ethics of the brand & it’s products. And so began a wonderful learning experience for me in sustainable and ethical design. We worked closely with the company’s Business Ethics team who vetted the suppliers and materials we used. As well, the company set up Trade Not Aid (now Community Fair Trade) to ensure people in the supply chain were fairly treated too.
My industry is slowly realising it’s huge impact on nature and the part we play in the use of materials and manufactured goods. The word Sustainability is used more and more and I am really happy there is now so much more awareness. But my concern is that the people factor within Sustainability is not front of mind.
How can I help you to be more sustainable?
I won’t pretend it’s easy - there is not an abundance of choice. There is not a wealth of Fair Trade products for interiors to choose from - but there are some so seek them out. Even if an item or two could be swapped in.
There’s lots of small producers that directories like Blue Patch can direct you to (UK and Irish makers).
Labels are another useful way to navigate through, I use Cradle to Cradle, Good Weave and Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) for reassurance of the people element of sustainablity.
Being a Living Wage employer is being adopted more and more - so look out for suppliers displaying this logo.
I’m very happy to share with you this guide on the labels and directories I use. You can download it here.
I know the whole area feels daunting and sometimes a moving target as there is an element of greenwashing going on. But I feel we need to increase our knowledge and awareness and reward the more conscious suppliers who look after more than bottom line profit.
Let’s use sustainable products and materials that have been ethically sourced. As I am often saying - we all need to ask more questions of suppliers. That action alone on mass will push demand and encourage better.
As always - I am here to help if needed. I have built a large product libray and have over 26 years experience,
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