Can Interior Designers Do More?

climate change

Galvanised by the bravery of 16 year old Greta Thurnberg and the School Strike for Climate Change movement, and the declaration by Extinction Rebellion that we are on the path to a mass extinction of our own making, there are a growing number of grass roots movements by industry leaders designed to help small businesses stop, think and review our business behaviour.

The first that came to my attention was #architectsdeclare, set up by a group of Stirling Prize winning architects calling for colleagues in the wider construction and built environment to sign up to Climate and Biodiversity Emergency manifesto, pledging to evaluate and change working practices and adopt more regenerative design and build principles for the greater good of people and planet.

DeclareLabels is another recent industry initiative. Like a food label, but for building related products it helps businesses, construction workers and consumers know exactly what’s in the products they are buying. Many manufacturers keep this sort of information out of the public domain under the guise of trade secrets, leaving consumers with very little information on which to make informed buying decisions for a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly living and working environment.

Today I spotted the #creativeclimatedisclosure a pledge for creative, advertising, marketing and design agencies to commit to disclosing what percentage of their turnover is from high carbon clients by the end of the year. Creativity has consequences and as communicators, the professionals behind this manifesto, seek to inspire, change and use their storytelling skills to be on the right side of history. As an ex marketer, it would be incredibly exciting  and heart warming to see some of the larger communications agencies sign up to this, especially those that work extensively with high carbon businesses.

With sustainability and climate change in mind, I’ve recently been thinking about ways in which I can be more thoughtful in my business and have made 3 actionable pledges on the Planet Mark Start programme to start actioning this.  Top of the list is offsetting the small amount of cardboard and materials I use in creating client presentations  – more on that in another post. It’s a small (but significant) start, a drop in the ocean I know, but I hope that the ripple effect will have a positive influence on those clients, suppliers and other businesses I encounter along the way.

But as a wider industry that collectively has huge influence over homeowners’ and businesses purchasing choices and consumer behaviour, can the interior design profession, have a bigger voice in helping the UK meet our Climate Emergency goals? Can we collectively sign-up to do more? Can we work together to help others make more conscious purchasing decisions by informing, sharing and promoting practices that are better for a more sustainable world?

If there are any other interior designers, professional bodies or industry thought leaders out there who feel we could be doing more, I would love to hear from you!

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