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April 15, 2009

Comments

deadrock

Nice Post, Scot. Indeed, great examples of sustainable design, and Lunar should be lauded for them, and others should feel grateful (and a little jealous maybe) for your leadership

At least two things seem trouble me here, though.

First, Haug's view that the public is cool with sustainability so long as it doesn't degrade quality or increase price. What he's leaving out is what P&G is cool with... which is, first and foremost (like nearly every other corporatio)n *growth in profits* which nearly always results from *growth in markets* which more times than not depends upon *growth in demand*. And therein lay the rub. Which means more stuff. Don't we get into the same quandary that the dieter does when he eats twice as many "diet candy bars" in order to lose twice the weight?

What surprising results would come from a designer trying to persuade an executive that his/her design is so good that he won't have to sell so many!!!

Which leads us to the second missing piece... nearly all this sustainability talk that we designers engage in is at the shallow end of the ecology discourse... Shallow ecology assumes that nature is there to serve our needs, and that our ecological work must first and foremost preserve the human systems. Sounds good, except that 150 years of industrialization has proven the damage this accomodationist philosophy has wrought.

In our heart of hearts, though, most of us recognize that deep ecology is the real law of the land: the human species (and our junk) is no more important than any other thing. Nature bats last, and she doesn't much care what species survive and which ones thrive.

And so the real question we must ask ourselves is, What kind of design work is possible once we stop pretending that our shallow views of ecology don't hold water?

Mario Vellandi

I fully understand the Deadrock's concern, and valid it is. The solution lies in business design and addressing the fundamental question: what are we selling?
This may yield scenarios where an increased number of services versus products are delivered over the customer lifespan.

Alternatively, there's the option of leasing/rental versus ownership. Profit margins in these scenarios often be higher than outright sales. Secondly, the business would automatically address the increasing concern for extended producer responsibility and disposal.

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