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Perkins&Will launch new sustainable materials database

The Now Database has been developed collaboratively with suppliers to capture products from suppliers of all sizes, large or small, and to ensure Perkins&Will measure contributions in a fair and equitable way.

14/06/2021 2 min read

When Perkins&Will launched its Net-Zero Now pledge, which ensures the internal fit-out of offices and commercial buildings will be net-zero embodied carbon, last year, the firm committed to reporting on its progress every six months.

One major outcome since the launch of that initial report launched is the new Now Database – a searchable directory of products that enables its designers to specify products that support the Net-Zero interiors pledge.

The Now Database has been developed collaboratively with suppliers to capture products from suppliers of all sizes, large or small, and to ensure Perkins&Will measure contributions in a fair and equitable way.

Products and materials are scored by Perkins&Will’s in-house sustainability team across various metrics that include sustainability, recyclability, circular principles, and areas of focus such as workers rights and the diversity of the supplier’s organisations.

Going forward, designers and architects at Perkins&Will’s London and Dublin studios will use this database to prioritise a supply chain that reflects its goal for a sustainable future.

As with Perkins&Will’s Transparency platform, a publicly accessible site that specifies healthy materials, the Now Database aims to sit alongside Transparency as the go-to site for sustainable and circular designed products and materials. Additionally, the firm has a long-term vision to make the Now Database accessible to all and ensure the entire industry works together to tackle the climate challenges ahead.

Perkins&Will’s internal Net-Zero Champions team regularly connects with the market to understand new solutions, challenge ways of thinking, and explore opportunities to work together. The Net-Zero Champions group comes together for fortnightly internal sessions to continuously share knowledge, reporting back on elements of investigation and how, where and what the wider studio can learn going forward. This directly ensures the target set out in the manifesto of at least one section of a project, whether its location, package or finish, is net-zero by Design Stage 2.

Led by Adam Strudwick, Principal of the interiors team, the studio launched a forward-thinking consultation process in Q4 2020 with key clients, including JLL, Citi, and Unilever, major contractors, such as Mace, ISG, and Overbury as well as supplier partners, sub-contractors, and furniture manufacturers Knoll, Senator, and Organgebox, amongst others. The consultation helped Perkins&Will better understand the challenges and opportunities for holistically delivering net-zero embodied carbon interiors and ensure that its supply chain meets net-zero requirements.

‘We want to maintain transparency about all the work we do, whether it applies to targets that are on track or pledges we’ve made that need a bit more work to achieve, Adam says. ‘We are already a quarter through 2021, and there is still a long way to go for us to be confident that we will meet the target that half of our projects will be designed to be 100% circular by the end of this year. We estimate we are 10% to the target. We are also working harder on what we mean and can achieve through embedded circular design in interiors.’

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