What actions can a company carry out to design in respect of the health of the planet, promoting values and principles linked to a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle?
From regenerative innovation to the creation of a proactive and ethical corporate ecosystem, we have outlined 4 strategic directions to face the challenges of the future:
- Regenerative Innovation
- Monitoring of environmental regulations
- Empathic and transparent communication
- Proactive business ecosystem
Regenerative innovation means creating new products, processes, technologies and services that meet both human and business needs while simultaneously respecting the world’s natural resources and bolstering its regenerative capacity.
Because disruption and sustainability both require profound paradigm shifts, regenerative innovation offers one of the most promising opportunity spaces for design companies.
Innovation means also acting as a powerful, transformative force for change — making it the perfect partner for any organization that wants to act decisively on its sustainable purpose.
Sustainable startup Notpla has created an edible, biodegradable packaging made from seaweed and plants that was designed to replace plastic.
According to Notpla’s designers, the material is entirely biodegradable and edible and can be composted at home in four to six weeks. So far, the packaging has been used to create thin films for cardboard takeaway boxes, as well sachets for condiments.
Monitoring of environmental regulations
Nowadays it’s clear that even with decisive action, climate change will still have dramatic asocial, political, economic and ecological effects.
By putting sustainability and resiliency at the center of the business strategy, studios and companies can contribute to reaching drawdown while mitigating business and operational risks posed by climate change. Organizations that fully understand the business value of sustainability will recognize that this strategic transition is an opportunity for innovation that will provide a competitive advantage.
Just the next generation of impact-focused entrepreneurs and ventures will create and scale innovative solutions to our most pressing environmental challenges. To take part in this transition process, design organizations must monitor the latest environmental policies and regulations to guide their strategic decision making and business development.
Circular and 100% recyclable, Napapijri’s Infinity jacket is the first of its kind, manufactured from former waste including plastics and fishing nets, treated and repurposed for a second life and beyond. Established in 1987, Napapijri is rooted in outdoor apparel. The brand thrives at the intersection of design, sustainability and innovation. The Infinity jacket continues this narrative, embodying Napapijri’s pioneering mindset.
Empathic and transparent communication
Consumers are demanding more transparency, honesty and ethical practices from the furniture and design brands they buy into, as self-education is rising. Surveys and statistics demonstrate that consumer culture has already shifted toward sustainability, suggesting that organizations not already working to mirror this cultural transformation risk being left behind. The new user profiles (that we have drawn in the first part of this report) find assurance in third-party certifications, so transparent communication about sourcing, traceability and the conditions of the manufacturing environment are vital to building the ethical integrity of the brand.
Textile brand Vescom has launched a range of durable upholstery made from 100 per cent recycled plastic waste. Vescom’s new upholstery is made from recycled PET bottles obtained from local sources. These are made into a yarn that Vescom has woven into four types of soft-touch fabric, each using a classic weaving technique.
Proactive business ecosystem
Ethics, integrity and regenerative sustainability must be the core values of the company around which to build innovation and make an impact.
In order to do this, a fundamental shift in the business mission is needed across the organization.
By demonstrating commitment to the same social, economic and environmental values as the customers and employees they want to attract, organizations can advance their business goals while also deepening their sustainability impact. But businesses must do more than speak about these values — they must live them. That means making the commitment to transparent and proactive diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
Companies need to fully leverage value integration to achieve holistic internal cultural transformation: by hiring forward-looking leaders with relevant social, technological and ecological expertise, organizations can meet external and internal expectations for sustainable governance while pioneering new business models.
The fooring manufacturer Tarkett produces a broad scope of surfaces including vinyl, laminate, wood, carpet rolls and tiles and linoleum. With a goal to establish a circular economy in the flooring industry, Tarkett is invested in cradle to cradle production. The company’s take-back ReStart programme sees it collect not only its own flooring, but also flooring from its competitors – gathering off-cuts and used vinyl, linoleum and carpet flooring to be recycled back into its own products.
How to act
- Create new product lines that have both human and planet health as their focus.
- Long-term strategic planning to reduce operational and supply chain impact.
- Commitment to fulfill the UN’s sustainability development goals and those based on science and environmental and social criteria.
- Entrepreneurial and challenging spirit to propose new business models that create a competitive advantage.
- Create an empathic connection with your audience and show them your honesty, commitment and integrity in the messages you communicate.
- Spread knowledge. Help users differentiate between authentic messages and greenwashing, and make useful content about your approach to sustainability.
- Improve reputation and brand awareness inside and outside the company. Customers will be more loyal and employees more proud to share the company’s values and mission.
- Transform the corporate culture and set the mission around a regenerative vision.