Back in 2017 we contributed to the 100% Design conference, speaking and raising awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) first proposed in 2015. At the time we felt that goals 3 (Good Health), 12 (Responsible Consumption) and 17 (Partnerships for the goals) were best representative of our ambitions.
A lot has changed since then, both internally in our business, commercially in the industry, and in the external world around us. Many positive steps have been taken and the fit-out industry is steadily becoming a greener, less wasteful, and more beautiful arena to work in. But after the recent IPCC report scientifically proving global warming is attributed to man-made activities, we know that urgent action is required to meet sustainability and emissions targets and halt the increase in global temperatures. Figurehead countries and businesses are busy working on commitments ahead of the upcoming COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in Glasgow later this year. The summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
At a business level, we can no longer narrow our SDG targets to just three! We nominated the following 5 goals below to serve concurrently alongside our company ethos and within the services we provide. Under each, to assist with articulating what the goals can look like in practice, we add examples where principles are embedded in our services and operations.
Our new UN SDG Goals are as follows:
13 Climate action
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Our objectives: Approach sustainable design on every project with a top-down science based approach, do good not just less bad, specify low carbon options/climate friendly options, design for disassembly, promote passive design, life-cycle thinking on every design element, not travelling unless we must, if travelling then go by train/other wherever possible, cycling/walking/bus.
Champion the issue in the industry, in guides and benchmarks and embed into client briefs.
12 Responsible Consumption & Production
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Our objectives: Promoting recycling/reuse, Design for Disassembly, promote and specify circular economy design and procurement systems, responsible procurement practices such as FSC/BS standards etc, second-hand product and material specifications, create as standard project Resource Management Plans, always hold design out Waste workshops with clients and the wider project teams, working with manufacturers to influence their product design, selling and sourcing practices, reduce wastage % in project specifications, always design with the end in mind.
3 Good Health and Wellbeing
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Our objectives: Designing for health, comfort and wellbeing, implement ‘a better place’ methodology, promote the book Wellbeing in Interiors, keep expanding on our own internal practices during our workdays, introduce and promote our WFH consultations, promote a culture that awards work-life balance, always specifying healthy materials, introducing and promoting the use of User Profiles and wider understanding on how to support occupants in emotional and cognitive ways in addition to physical.
4 Quality education
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Our objectives: Creating and delivering the Design for Wellbeing course, support and develop the SKA rating assessor and industry training, undertake public speaking engagements to raise industry and social knowledge, authoring books for fellow designers and consultants, upskilling colleagues and taking on juniors that wish to specialise in sustainable design, upskilling project partners, subcontractors and suppliers, offering internships
11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
Our objectives: Creating ‘a better place methodology’ to provide clear and deliverable project design objectives, utilizing and promoting sustainable transportation, promoting better building and interior design, effective collaborative and connecting design where needed, introducing and promoting the use of User Profiles, ensure that every service we offer keeps as an objective the betterment of life and the flourishing of our planet.
Over the coming month we will delve deeper into each of our targeted UN Sustainable Development Goals and expand on how we are better positioning ourselves to help you, our peers, and clients and share knowledge in the process. In the meantime, we would love to hear from you, about efforts your business or organisation is making or thinking of making towards the SDGs.