Where are the challenges in construction for the next 10 years?
What’s your opinion on the Towards Zero Waste strategy?
Where do you see the role of design?
Please see the interviews below,
Ecodesign met the built environment on Tuesday last week (Nov 29th) in a collaborative event between the Ecodesign Centre (EDC) and Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW). The morning’s event saw construction stakeholders gathering from across the industry. Architects, engineers, developers, builders, material and product manufacturers, and demolition all came together to discuss the issue of waste in the construction sector. EDC’s objective was to highlight the issues resulting in waste and the role of design in moving Wales ‘Towards Zero Waste’ (TZW). The morning began with introduction to the format and objectives from me, followed by Paul Jennings from CEW. Paul informed us of some of CEW’s work and a brief outline of the Construction & Demolition sector plan.
Our very own Simon O’Rafferty gave a dynamic and insightful introduction to ecodesign. He highlighted some inspiring examples of ecodesign in practice from Wales and around the world.
Last week I gave a presentation to approximately 50 designers, manufacturers and other business people in Latvia via the web. It was part of a workshop run by the British Council but planned and facilitated by Guy and Helena from Sprout design, Jonathan Chapman and myself. It was great to be able to connect and share experiences with people in Latvia from the comfort of my house in Cardiff. The main aim of my presentation was to demystiy some of the complex issues of sustainabity and design while highlighting lessons from some designers and companies in Wales that have already gone on the same journey I expect these companies in Latvia will be going on now.
It was an extra special honour to present to Latvian industry because my Msc thesis addressed the issues of design for sustainability in transition economies with a particular interest in Baltic states. I was fascinated by the shifting cultural context in post communist countries and how this would impact on design and sustainable development. It was great to see these same issues being discussed by companies in Latvia now. In fact, the event was way oversubscribed with more than 100 companies wanting to join.
On Friday 2nd of December I had the pleasure of speaking at the Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM) Towards Zero Waste (TZW) Conference in Cardiff.
My presentation focused on the idea of waste as a social crime and proposed that everyone needs to take responsibility and show leadership to significantly accelerate the rate of required behavioural change. I put forward the case that we should move away immediately from using the term waste and instead view everything as resource. I also suggested we need to ‘use’ instead of ‘consume’ resource and transform rather than destroy. I reminded everyone that we should not use the excuse of ‘that’s the way it is’.
I presented 3 case studies; our work with Harman International on ecodesigning car speakers which emphasised the importance of material selection and true system impacts and costing; our ongoing work with Orangebox on ecodesigning office furniture which emphasised the importance of being transparent and viewing all materials as resource; and an example from the John Lewis Partnership of a unimaginably over-packaged shoe rack, imported from China, that did not assemble, which was delivered to my home the previous week. I brought the packaging with me to maximise the impact and will write a separate post on this, as I also want to contact John Lewis to get their side of the story.
I really enjoyed the day, with its mix of talks, workshops and exhibition, and as I always find with these type of events I met some really inspiring, knowledgeable and committed people. Thankfully the theme of ‘no more waste only resource’ carried through the day, and became a key outcome of the conference.
I ended with the following quote from Thich Nhat Hanh to emphasise our interconnectedness.
“To be” is inter-be. We cannot just be by ourselves alone. We have to inter-be with every other thing.