Oct 26, 2009

The Designer's Accord and Sustainability

Goal of the Designers Accord:

"The goal of the Designers Accord is to bring the creative community together as a social and cultural force to create positive impact. We will do this by educating ourselves and our teams about environmental social justice issues, and talking to each and every client and customer about the consequences and opportunities provided by our work. We will create sustainable products and services, and share information about how to do that with each other."


According to an article in TIME, over 170,000 design firms, corporations, and colleges around the world have adopted the Design Accord document over the course of two years.  Valerie Casey, a designer, became concerned about the impact of her work on the environment.  At the time, she was designing products such as diapers with sensors, and realized that many of her creations were not in line with environmental sustainability.

Although I try to conserve energy and I'm conscious of environmental issues on a personal level, and I am fortunate to work in a "Green" certified school a couple of days a week,   I didn't think much about what people can do to make a difference on a global scale.  The design field is vast, it includes people who design the packaging of products. Every day tons of well-designed packaging is carted away to a landfill somewhere on the planet. Every day, large electronic components, in the form of interactive displays, computers, and so forth, are shipped around the planet in large amounts of packaging, and the components themselves are often designed in a way that wastes energy and resources needlessly during the manufacturing process, or directly through the use of large amounts of electricity when in use. When these large components are no longer needed, they do not decompose into the earth.

The Designers Accord recently sponsored the Global Summit on Design Education & Sustainability on October 23-24, 2009 in San Francisco. Some of the thought leaders at the conference included Piper Kujac, of the UC Berkeley Extension,  Barbara Sudick, California State University,Chico,  Nathan Shedroff, California College of the Arts,  Ricardo Gomes, San Francisco State University,  Scott Boylston, Savannah College of Art & Design,  Jeremy Faludi, Worldchanging, Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, Art Center College of Design, and Cindy Gilbert, of the Biomimicry Institute.  (A complete list of the educational institutes that participated in the conference can be found on the Designers Accord website.)

The Designer Accord members encourage people to organize Town Hall events with others in their local design communities.  Information about the Town Hall process can be found on the Events section of the Designers Accord website.  For more information about the Designers Accord, follow the links below.

The Designers Accord

The Designers Accord Educational and Corporate Adopters

Designer Accord Design Firms (Core77 Design Directory)
(Under the search box, select 'search for designers accord adopters only')

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