Sustainable Design Is A New Focus For Major Corporations

<p>As more and more buildings are designed to be energy efficient and car companies offer to take back and dispose old vehicles for free, sustainable design is increasingly on the agendas of major corporations.</p>
January 30, 2007, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"There is a dark side of industrial design: the shoddy products made by cheapskate manufacturers without considering the environmental consequences. Not all of the dead computers littering city dumps were badly designed, but the environmental cost of scrapping them is just as high."

"That may be about to change thanks to the newfound corporate enthusiasm for sustainability. BMW began the year by offering to take its old cars back for free, and to dispose of them responsibly. Marks & Spencer unveiled a £200 million, or $394 million, 'eco-plan,' followed days later by a similar announcement from its rival British retailer, Tesco. The French luxury group, PPR, has opened a sustainable laboratory near Paris to manufacture organic skin care products for the Stella McCartney brand. As sustainability climbs the corporate agenda, it is poised to become one of the most important issues in design."

"If you ask designers whether they care about environmental issues, they'll probably say 'yes'; but many are more pro-active about them in their personal lives, than their work. 'Designers' participation in sustainable development has been mixed and patchy,' says Chris Sherwin, head of innovation at Forum for the Future, the London-based nonprofit organization. 'Most companies tend to do sustainable design and to produce sustainable products without much 'design input.' Sadly.'"

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Published on Monday, January 29, 2007 in International Herald Tribune
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