Sustainability:Your next big innovation opportunity?
With increasing pressure on the world’s    resources – through a complex bundle of    sustainability issues such as climat...
easier to recycle. These kinds of good design interventions, ifimplemented across a whole EU ‘circular’ economy could save...
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Sustainability: Your next big innovation opportunity?

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With increasing pressure on the world’s resources – through a complex bundle of sustainability issues such as climate change, material scarcity, toxic pollution, population growth, and increased consumption -
the need for new thinking and creative
approaches is clearer than ever.
Chris Sherwin, Head of Sustainability at design and innovation company Seymourpowell, explains

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Sustainability: Your next big innovation opportunity?

  1. 1. Sustainability:Your next big innovation opportunity?
  2. 2. With increasing pressure on the world’s resources – through a complex bundle of sustainability issues such as climate change, material scarcity, toxic pollution, population growth, and increased consumption - the need for new thinking and creative approaches is clearer than ever. CHRIS SHERWIN Head of Sustainability at SeymourpowellThe good news is that businesses and brands are waking up to sustainability risks andopportunities, and increasingly starting to lead. Whereas such ‘sustainable business’used to be driven by legal compliance, reducing risks, managing reputation or at best,cost reductions; sustainable business is now about innovation, entrepreneurship, growthand opportunity. And whereas companies previously used their quality or supply chainmanagers, legal, communications or PR departments, now they turn to their innovators.Why ‘design’ for sustainability 1. Sustainability in existing product and pack designIn the past, innovation and design has been part of the problem In work with clients we regularly have to manage and balance– generating more ‘stuff’ to fuel ‘use-and-chuck’ lifestyles. complex factors as part of a brief. That can be cost, aesthetics,But today, innovators and designers are increasingly part new technology, manufacturability, and now add to thatof the solution. They see that far from constraining design, sustainability issues. Long-term sustainability targets to reducesustainability offers a fantastic new set of creative levers – carbon emissions and material use mean we literally have toallowing us to think up entirely new ways of going about our add sustainability improvements to everything we design goinglives, doing business, and of producing and consuming. forward.But how do you successfully innovate in this way ensuring you Luckily this can make for better products or packaging design.win from sustainability? We think it will increasingly be about Our Vaseline packaging redesign for Unilever delivered bettergreat design. We lay out below three ways Seymourpowell is functionality to consumers, clearer brand alignment across thegoing about sustainable innovation, plus explain what you can range, plus a 3% material reduction and a move to a mono-get from doing so: material - saving carbon emissions, waste, costs and making itConfidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. easier to recycle. These kinds of good design interventions, ifimplemented across a whole EU ‘circular’ economy could savean estimated $630bn in material costs by 2025, according tothe Ellen MacArthur Foundation.2. Build sustainability through brands It falls to this generation of“Sustainability builds brands” is what companies’ feedback asthe main business benefit. BT famously calculated that 25% of creative thinkers, innovators andcustomers purchasing drivers – plus the resultant brand value designers to imagine a future- were linked to its sustainability performance. It shows brandscare, positioning them as modern, human, and in touch. This world that we’d all like to live in...gives brands a higher purpose, which customers often relate toemotionally.Brands can help sustainability too, with their ability to normalise and Sustainability (LOHAS) segment in the US is estimated tonew technology and behaviour. They can make sustainability feature over 40 million consumers. In Western Europe it makesideas aspirational and meaningful, creating social movements. up 15-25% of various countries population. Business spendThe M&S and Oxfam ‘Shwopping’ partnership to promote on sustainable product development is growing at almost 20%clothes recycling has saved an incredible 10 million garments annually while growth in clean and green technology investmentfrom landfill since 2008. Coke recently launched ‘Ekocycle’, its is reported at 5% in a recessionary 2011.sub-brand to promote recycling and increased take-up among Successful AND sustainableyoung people. Put simply, brands can make new sustainable Need any more convincing? Sustainability makes money ANDstuff cool, and the sustainability movement desperately needs sense. Yet it does take a mindset change and different set ofa sprinkling of ‘brand stardust’ to move beyond doom-mongery skills to spot and act on this – and that’s about innovation andand finger-wagging. design. And even if the design community is not yet where3. New and breakthrough innovation through sustainability sustainability leadership currently resides, it’s where it needsToyota’s pioneering Prius hybrid recently became the third to be. It’s my own view that sustainability presents some of thebest selling car in the world. Drink’s brand Innocent smoothies biggest opportunities for innovation and great design the 21sthas captured 75% UK market share with a proposition based century has to offer.around health and sustainability. The Dyson air blade, the low- It falls to this generation of creative thinkers, innovators andimpact alternative to paper towel drying reported sales up 70% designers to imagine a future world that we’d all like to live in –in its second year. There is strong evidence of the opportunities and then build it to last. Sustainability features what I believe arethat completely new-to-the-world sustainable products andservices present and this is one of the richest areas forinnovators and designers.Sales of ethical products in the UK have continued to growat 8% over the past two years, even during the recession, To find out more please contactand stand at a whopping £45bn. The Lifestyles Of Health Tim Duncan - tim.duncan@seymourpowell.comConfidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved.

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