Design for environmental sustainability
87.4% of those interviewed for the purposes of the Symbola Foundation’s Design Economy 2023 Report stressed the importance of sustainability in current projects. In particular, the demand for expertise in this field is matched by the multiple strategies adopted by the industry to increase ESG objectives.
Currently, 19.8% of sustainability-related expertise is channelled into design strategies for durability, which prolong the lifecycle of products by integrating standardisation, repairability and reusability solutions. Then comes design for recycling, representing 17.2% of expertise, which is geared to cutting the number of materials needed to produce a product and the separability of its components (which in most cases also helps to bring down supply and production costs). 13% of expertise is focused on design for disassembly – putting into practice strategies that combine attention to materials, to components, to assembly mechanisms and to all those processes that facilitate repairability, recycling and reclamation in general. Next, 12.5% of expertise is bound up with strategic design for sustainability, which considers a much more systemic approach, combining complex tools such as measuring instruments, KPIs, monitoring protocols, training programmes and incentives for adopting innovative practices. “What strategic design for sustainability can bring to the entrepreneurial fabric is significant in terms of relationship-building,” says the report, “because it has the ability to generate sustainable innovation on a number of different levels – from product to process to regional valorisation.” The first two elements are capable of triggering relationships between businesses and facilitating the movement of resources not just within the same sector, but also between different goods sectors, and in doing so integrate dialogues with local authorities and within complex public-private projects. Other types of expertise that make up the wide range of design strategies for environmental sustainability include product as a service models (PaaS), communication and information design and design for regeneration.