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» Sustainable Design
The best way to predict the future is to design it.
(Willy Brandt)

What is Sustainable Design? In light of the ever-escalating debate about climactic and environmental change, there has been an intensified consideration in the design world about the influences on and consequences to the built and natural environments that product design can have. Product usage is confronted with environmental interference from the product’s life cycle arising from diverse manufacturing, usage, recycling and disposal processes. Environmentally-conscious design is thus the key to a sustainable society.

In this context, Product Design plays a central role, since 90% of the energy use associated with a product’s production and consumption is already determined in the plans made by the designers. Accordingly, sustainable design has the ability, among other things, to optimize energy efficiency, to minimize pollution emission and waste production, to conserve natural resources, to school social practice and in this way, to help promote sustainable development. Sustainable design, or “eco-design,” is a fundamentally justified concern with an eye to a future-oriented integrated product policy.
Sustainability in Corporations On the business side of things, there is a growing interest and engagement in environmental and social questions, covered under the umbrella term „Corporate Social Responsibility“. This represents a voluntary corporate pledge to integrate social, as well as environmental concerns into company activities. Sustainable design also falls under this category, since design does not only mean designing products – it also means designing creative processes.

Steadily changing environmental conditions, globalization, improved information and communication technologies, and high-turnover societal structure models put pressure on corporations to deal with these matters. On top of that, however, the alignment with sustainable principles offers long-term competitive advantages and hence sustainable profit maximization. One example of how this has manifested itself in business is the model of the “Triple Bottom Line”, which, in terms of sustainable development, rests on a balanced financial coordination of ecological, economic and social concerns.

Business are confronted with a mature generation of consumers, with newly-formed demands, and for whom sustainability anchored in production planning and product programs, integrated product policy and a trustworthy corporate ethic represent a clear and viable purchasing point, just as low prices once did.
Sustainability from the point of view of the consumer The steadily growing trend of promoting health and sustainability through consumer behavior, the so-called “Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability” (LOHAS), has developed strongly over the past few years. An example of this is the development of the ecological food market: in 2004, organic supermarkets in Germany already had a turnover of around 220 million Euro, and in 2007, it climbed to 600 million Euro.

Business goals and sustainable development must not shut each other out. The IDZ wishes to help promote an increasing integration of sustainability in product, space and service design. The new overarching mission for all those involved in these processes is to assume collective responsibility for their effects.