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June 2019

Designing for Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12)


There is currently an unprecedented awareness and movement, both from brands and governments to combat plastic pollution and recycle. The 2019 edition of the World Economic Forum highlighted the importance of moving towards a circular economy and how it could do much more than saving the planet – it could also create endless economic opportunities.

SDG12 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Of all of the 17 UN SDGs, Goal 12 particularly speaks to industrial designers and design’s impact to make a positive difference in the world, such as more conscious efforts to use recycled and/or sustainable materials, or improved processes to increase product life cycles.

Changing our consumption and production patterns is an environmental and social priority. Clearly, designers have a responsibility to develop new products and new services that use sustainable materials. Through recycling, re-manufacturing, refurbishing, designers have a role to play at every step of the circular economy.

PepsiCo's vision to build a world where plastics need never become waste 


In light of growing environmental concerns, more and more key players in the food and beverage industry are working towards initiatives that respond to the global shift in consumer behaviour towards recycling and reducing plastic use. Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo, talks to WDO about the efforts this food and beverage giant is taking towards more responsible consumption and production, as well as his vision of sustainable design and social happiness.
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EU policy makers are taking steps to improve product design
This year, the EU will adopt new
measures which will call on designers
to make household appliances more
eco-designed.

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Food waste as an alternative to
plastic cutlery

Student Anne Sophie F. Saleun from L'École de design Nantes Atlantique (WDO member) uses corn cobs to create biodegradable plates that also generate income for Mexican farmers
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Providing a sustainable alternative to Bangladeshi farmers through design
Student Guillemette de Brabant from ENSCI (WDO member) creates a Coconut Alternative to soil salinization for agriculture
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IIT Hyderabad uses recycled material to reduce virgin asphalt for roads
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Planet First – Samsung’s green initiative
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3D-printed snacks made out of food waste
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Adidas Futurecraft.Loop, the first shoe made to be remade
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Fairphone, the world’s first ethical, modular smartphone
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Seaweed drinks capsules as an alternative to plastic bottles
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SDG 12 and World Industrial Design Day (WIDD)
On 29 June 2019, the global design community is invited to explore local challenges and identify ways design can help ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns by “doing more and better with less”
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SDGs and why they matter to designers
In line with a number of SDGs, now more than ever, industrial design prioritizes accessibility, affordability, reliability, sustainability, respect for the user and the environment.
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Designing Sustainable Cities: Case Studies Wanted
We're about the power of design for the SDGs!
Do you have a success story on design for SDG12 that you want to share with the community? Are you working on a design for SDG12 project, event or initiative? Tell us about it. We'd like to hear from you! Contact us to contribute to our series of features on responsible consumption and production.
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