What appeared to be an option ten years ago is now an obvious societal choice. The environmental responsibility needed for the planet and consumers means that we are rethinking our world view. This means questioning our central position as a species in order to survive.
The rights we claim to have on the planet also imply certain obligations.
Objective indicators like the earth overshoot day (EOD) indicates to environmental sceptics that a disturbing equilibrium has been broken.
Civil society in the person of Andrew CUOMO governor of New York State and his PLASTIC BAG BAN back up legal and coercive initiatives to bring ecosystems onto government agendas.
The necessity of looking at the entire life cycle
Our vision of production runs counter to natural life cycles.
As Galileo questioned the central position of the earth in the solar system the designer Papanek (“The Green Imperative” 1995) moved human consumption cycle into a global circular perspective. As an eco-design pioneer he lays the foundations for responsible design integrating the user experience, technology and the life cycle of goods or services.
This three pronged approach is bolstered by integrating the upstream (material sourcing) and the downstream (waste reprocessing) and it is applied to all consumption. Many things can be redesigned during the production process to improve a product’s impact. We can therefore question:
– Materials: nature, their origin
– Processing: energy costs, environmental impact, materials used, product quality
– Recycling: Possible association of several materials, integration into a sorting process (brand owner or institutional), etc.
– Transport and storage: type of transport, location, means, etc.
However, this approach is not part of our DNA as consumers. Accepting its cost means consumers must understand it. According to a study led by the American Packaging Institute in 2018, 50% of consumers consider that design and recyclability are essential elements in the choice of products or services. Also 67% believe that communication of an environmental approach is essential to eco-design.
To sum up, an eco-friendly brand is a brand that:
– Optimises its manufacturing process
– Reinvents the user-experience
– Communicates on its approach
What are the models for the future? Welcome back mother nature
1 / ” If Design is to embrace its ecological and social responsibilities it must be revolutionary and radical. We need to minimise the strain on nature by doing more with less.”. V Papanek
This is the first and simplest principle.
We need to reduce the impact of products and services by using less materials and energy.
However, this is not the only area where we can be effective.
2 / Create products that have no environmental impact through the use of bio-based and home-compostable materials is a sure way of avoiding ecological issues.
3 / Finally, the third model, the holy grail of eco-consciousness.
Study the entire life cycle through the prism of mother nature by looking clearly at eco-design issues through each phase of the process.
WTDW : What To Do With ?
We must reject the idea that we are not part of an inter-connected world and that there are no consequences to our actions. Humans and brands are part of the planetary life cycles.
The good news is that 21st century technology opens the doors to an industrial and conceptual world that puts us back into the life cycle that we should never have left in the first place.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Will we adapt in time?
Vincent VIARD, Structural Design Manager
Keywords : branding agency, eco design, engagement, structural design