Design Strategies: A sample selection of methods and practices to consider when making new products or packaging
A link to Nike's guide to “the future of design”, created in collaboration with the students and staff of Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
Nike has a monumental task to tackle in reversing its impact on the environment. The athletic industry has to battle the seasonality of fashion tastes and sports teams (new kit every year!) with the performance requirements of materials that do not have a second life. While we are skeptical Nike can do it in time, we are 100% behind the effort.
Ecomedes is a tool developed by Herman Miller that acts as a rating system, allowing designers, specifiers, and customers to make choices by assessing the environmental impact of each product.
We are fans of any company providing a transparent impact assessment, even if it is a work in progress.
Read Herman Miller's sustainability report, includes a commendable transparent look at their numbers.
Read "A Way Of Living", Herman Miller's chronicle of how it changed the way we live in the early 20th century
Watch a video of Google explaining how it's data centers are achieving zero waste, leading energy efficiency and running on renewable energy.
As we continue to expand cloud-based working (and collect all the selfies) there needs to be a consideration for how much digital data we need to keep, and an understanding of the real-world cost to store it.
Visit Google's landing page for sustainability
Ikea launched its sustainability strategy in 2012, with the goal of reaching the targets outlined by the UN's 2030 Sustainability Development Goals.
Ikea has been at the forefront of sustainable design initiatives for a while. However, they are also targeting a segment of the market inclined to buy cheaper, disposable items. How IKEA reconciles these two factors will be one to watch!
Read the IKEA Circular Product Design Guide for 2019
Generally seen as the gold standard of corporate responsibility, Patagonia's approach is a case study in the power of remaining consistent across the entire circular ecosystem: supply, product, waste, marketing, legal action, activism, internal organization etc.
Why Recycled? a short video that looks the current global challenges facing the recycling system
WornWear - resale market for Patagonia clothes, and clothes made from old clothes
Actionworks - Patagonia's platform for activism and organizing
Apple's resale and refurbish market is already a somewhat established circular loop, bred from the company's mission to keep control of its products and extract secondary value.
If Apple can further optimize its products to come apart in clean material streams, and move away from planned obsolescence, they will likely be a leader in the circular economy.
Adidas is trying to achieve its sustainability goals with a recyclable running shoe. The new shoe, called Futurecraft.Loop, is made out of a single material, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which can be disassembled and ground down into new TPU pellets. Switching from mixed materials to a single material, and not using glue to construct the shoe, to make recycling feasible.
Adidas is battling against an industry made on waste, with an expectation of seasonal change and a reliance on highly engineered polymers that do not have a second life. This example is an interesting experiment, but not a true solution.
Visit Adidas's landing page for sustainability
Not to be outdone on efficiency, Amazon has committed to meet the Paris Accord metrics by 2040, a full ten years earlier.
There is no doubt that Amazon has the tools to be a leading player in the circular economy. A bigger issue lies with the addiction to convenience and 'more-stuff' that Amazon enables. We need to consider how these platforms serve us and also what they serve us – whether the majority of products in the marketplace should exist at all.
Hear from Kara Hurst, Amazon's Head of Worldwide Sustainability
Read about P&G's commitments to sustainability, covering the complete spectrum of factors from energy and water use, material supply and waste.
P&G were early partners in the Loop program, to distribute reusable packaging. In the near-term, we are interested to see if they can continue the momentum and shift an industry heavily reliant on single-use plastic.
Once upon a time Levi's were a great environmental option because they lasted forever. Now the company is having to tackle sustainability while balancing the waste of fast fashion, primarily through water usage and less intensive manufacturing processes.
We are interested to see how Levi's becomes more sustainable through new manufacturing technologies and recapturing systems.
Package free shops are the tip of the iceberg where the consumer mindset shifts towards sustainability and the role of packaging connect. While not a new concept, it is finding momentum again with early adopters who can afford to shop this way, and we can expect the trend to move from the boutique to the somewhat mainstream.
This is an important development for the circular economy as it asks the consumer to do some of the legwork, removing the need for home delivery packaging and unlocking the potential of bulk bins.