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Moving towards smaller footprints on Mother Earth

Design journalist Roddy Clarke discusses our role in creating a sustainable future.

There’s still hope – if we act fast

Design journalist and speaker, Roddy Clarke, is passionate about how we individually, and collectively, can leave a smaller footprint on Mother Earth. In a recent Aritco Talk on the impacts of the pandemic and sustainability, Roddy, who contributes to Forbes and a variety of other publications, says he is hopeful, but the next ten years is critical in our fight against climate change. Here he shares a few of his thoughts on what needs to happen.

How can we have sustainable economic growth?

Economic recovery must be led with a green strategy in place. We have a chance to rebuild the economy with a renewed approach to values such as circularity, equality and transparency. While many may view it as a restraint, it offers a wealth of opportunity and a chance to revitalise sectors with passion and purpose. We can succeed through collaborations across industries and a willingness to work as a single, collective force to achieve the targets and goals laid out for us.

What are some companies that set a good example?

One example is Anglepoise based in the UK. They have launched a Lifetime Guarantee which is the first of its kind in the lighting world. It means they can take direct responsibility for the recycling and repurposing of their products, while giving customers that extra commitment to the brand.

Another example of a company that puts its people, and the planet, first is Vestre, a Norwegian company. Its latest factory, The Plus, is under development and will produce 250,000 kWt of its own renewable energy and recycle 95% of its water. Part of the plan is also to protect and preserve the 300-acre park surrounding the building. The mindset of its CEO, Jan-Christian Vestre, is one which puts values first and enables the business to grow, but with the right ethics and principles at its heart.

London-based Ishkar is shedding light on the work of craftspeople from countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Burkina Faso, to name a few. Through travel and crafts, its founder, Edmund Le Brun, is seeking to bring the many perspectives of such countries to a wider audience and highlight the heritage of crafts within these regions. Simultaneously, it is supporting small creative communities, allowing them to succeed using their inherent sustainable practices of reuse, repair and producing minimal waste.

Pic below: Vestre.com , a Norwegian sustainable manufacturer of urban furnitures around the world. 

How do you keep such a positive attitude towards this?

I am an optimist at heart. Throughout my own personal experiences, I have always kept hope at the forefront of what I believe in. While times may be challenging, we have the power to work as individuals and simultaneously as part of a global community. I do believe humanity will prevail, and communities will gain strength through working together instead of in opposition with each other. While we cannot shy away from the facts of the crisis itself, we must draw from each other and focus on solutions which will preserve not only the planet, but also humanity as we know it.

How can individuals reduce their environmental impact?

Change starts with us. While we can spend energy pointing fingers and blaming organisations, we also have the power to inspire change within our own circles of influence. No change is too small and, by acknowledging we are all on a journey towards a better future, we can move forward step by step. And yes, governments and organisations do have a lot of improvements to make. However, we can also influence this by choosing wisely in which companies to invest our money and also through voting those into office who will hold themselves accountable to such values in ensuring change can take place.

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