The desire to tackle all efforts from a sustainability perspective has been growing for some time. From protests causing major manufacturers like Mattel and Lego to rethink their purchases from old growth forests, to the rise of Fair Trade and Certified Organic goods, to the severe punishments doled out to wrongdoers in China over issues of product safety, to ethics-based criteria clients now use to assess vendors and potential partners — people want know the products they’re buying or selling as well as who and what they associate with, are inline with their vision of themselves and their actions.
With the recent change in the rules on how we can talk about efforts, the idea then of talking about sustainability/eco-friendliness/greenness without relying on the terms (a potential minefield of greenwashing) provides an opportunity to focus on what is really going on — and to feature the tangible positives we can all get our arms around.
In an ever-polarizing society, decoupling the positive components of sustainability that everyone can agree on (like: energy independence, creating new jobs and increasing job satisfaction, strengthening local economies as well as global opportunities) from the political baggage, is a move toward creating a world that really is more sustainable by a wide range of definitions.
As terms, possibilities, and attitudes change, companies, and the design and business professionals who serve them, are looking for ways to strengthen their brands while improving both their environmental performance and profitability opportunities found in working in a more holistic (and farsighted) way. This fall, MCAD’s Continuing Education department will be offering a hands-on ”boot camp” to teach strategies using real-world approaches to applied sustainability, with a particular emphasis on design and marketing.
Topics covered will include: human behavior and decision making; systems thinking, energy; and materials and processes. Using a systems thinking approach, students will use case studies and real world hands-on assignments to investigate material selection, environmental impact, consumer perception, and market triggers.
Using the packaging as the example industry vehicle, students will dissect successes, failures, and explore avenues to create sustainable, highly effective, and profitable solutions — that can be applied to any effort — not just packaging.
Design and non-design students alike are invited to join internationally known sustainability advocate Wendy Jedlička, CPP, for two live in-class sessions. Going deeper, students will complete several assignments between these two live sessions via an online component. At the end of the class, students will be able to look at any problem with a fresh perspective, and have in hand a mechanism for real and effective change. Students are invited to bring along design and marketing projects they’ve been working on to see how a new perspective can open opportunities, making their work more effective.