As designers, we have more power than we may realize to help impact the environment for the better.
There are many ways that our choices and processes can affect the environment. One of those ways is by choosing who we work with.
It’s always nice to have clients who are on the same page as you, who want to do as much as possible to make sure that the work you’re doing doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment. However, realistically, that isn’t always the case, which is why it’s always great to communicate your goals and decisions and to be encouraging when possible. By having clear and open communication about why you’re making the choices and suggestions that you are, it helps everyone feel aligned in the path forward.
Offering recommendations is helpful to clients in many ways – tapping into your wealth of knowledge, saving them time – and allows you the opportunity to recommend something environmentally conscious that support your clearly aligned goals. One example of this is having a conversation with your client about the benefits of carbon offset shipping for their e-commerce business when setting up or looking into shipping for their website. It could be something they haven’t even considered, so it’s important to outline the benefits. In general, it’s a good idea to try to give recommendations for ethical third parties that also care about the environment before recommending those that do not.
Going along with that, it’s also a good idea to work with manufacturers and printers that also care about their environmental impact. It’s perfectly okay (and a good idea) to ask these companies directly, if the information isn’t available on their website, what they’re doing to be more environmentally conscious, and many have policies, written practices, and maybe even impact reports ready to share. By having this network or database of sustainable third parties to work with or recommend to clients, it becomes easier to be a sustainable designer because the resources are already at your fingertips.
While communicating with clients about your sustainability-inspired decisions can be helpful and encouraging, it’s equally as important to have these conversations with fellow designers. By talking about sustainability with colleagues and others in the field, it can reach folks that might not have considered it as thoroughly beforehand. Even if you just start with small conversations, every choice that you make while working with others can be another step towards becoming a more environmentally conscious designer.