Interior Design Declares Climate & Biodiversity Emergency

A group of influential interior design practices have today joined forces to launch ‘Interior Design Declares’, as part of Construction Declares, calling on everyone “working in the design and construction industry” to adopt a “paradigm shift in behaviour” over climate change.

The nine interior design firms behind the ‘Interior Design Declares’ clarion call to the interior design industry are: Absolute Project Management, Designed by Woulfe, Elemental Studio, Helen Bainbridge Interior Design, Materialise Interiors, MCM, Oliver Heath Design, Persona Abode Interiors and Studio Suss.

The group has issued the following statement demanding collective action to confront the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

“The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.

For everyone working in the design and construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design spaces within buildings as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.

The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to design spaces with a more positive impact on the world around us.

We will seek to:

  • Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst our clients and supply chains.
  • Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher Governmental funding priority to support this.
  • Share knowledge and research to that end on an open-source basis.
  • Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.
  • Work towards including life cycle costing, whole life carbon modelling and post occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.
  • Work with others in the construction industry to upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice. 
  • Act to address the disproportionate impact of these crises on disadvantaged communities and ensure that all mitigation and adaptation efforts address the needs of all people.
  • Ensure diverse and inclusive principles are implemented in hiring and retaining staff so that people of all backgrounds can participate in decision-making about the future of the designed environment.
  • Request 3rd party certification or similar demonstration of environmental provenance and impact for each product specified. 
  • Adopt more regenerative design principles in our studios, with the aim of designing spaces which go beyond the standard of net zero carbon, including the specification of ultra-low energy appliances.
  • Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work. Seek to reuse and recycle products and materials at every available opportunity.
  • Minimise wasteful use of resources in interior design, both in quantum and in detail. Collaborate with all members of the industry to further reduce construction and packaging waste.

We hope that everyone involved in the UK interior design industry will join us in making this commitment.”

UK-based interior design practices are invited to find out more information and support ‘Interior Design Declares’ at https://www.interiordesigndeclares.co.uk. Associated suppliers can also be signatories on the condition that they have an environmental statement on their website. #interiordesigndeclares. Information on Construction Declares is available here: https://constructiondeclares.com.

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About Jess Mockler

Jess is the Marketing and Membership Executive at BCFA and Design Insider. She has a passion for design, marketing and events with a history of working closely with designers in the interior sector after finishing University in Event Management.
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