Paul: We all have a responsibility here – and we all have the ability to take on the onus and take on that responsibility. My job is to understand all the things that people like Adnan tell us – that I’d never heard up until five minutes ago – and to understand them, and then tell my team about it, and then tell my clients, and then my clients tell their staff…so that responsibility is spread across all of us. My daughter, who is seven years old, is now telling me things about the earth – she’s educating me and already sharing that responsibility with me. I work for a company who works incredibly hard (and pushes manufacturers incredibly hard) to only offer our designers things that are pleasant to the earth, as much as they can be. If they are not, we will not offer them to our clients.
Josie: We actually ban stuff from our library now, to ensure that we’re only presenting the ‘right’ products to our clients.
So how do specifiers navigate this often-tricky path?
Josie: Sometimes you have conversations where the manufacturer will ask us what it is we are looking for in a product, and they will then try to develop that because they do need to make sales.
Lewis: It actually makes the company more attractive to us – because we then know that they naturally want to develop these products. We, as designers, might not have the time and resources to fully concentrate on this, but we do have sustainability teams who do that for us.
The sustainability team at tp bennett will send out a really detailed questionnaire, and if they don’t fill that out, then they won’t get on the list. If they do, then they go into a traffic light system.