We are all becoming more conscious of our impact on our surroundings, environment, and accountabilities – one study shows that nearly two-thirds of people now consciously reduce their use of single-use plastic, while the ONS found that 86% of adults have started to change their lifestyle in response to environmental issues.

Of course, businesses have a part to play too and Room 11 are contributing towards a more sustainable future. By concentrating on our triple bottom line, we put forward ideas that place profit, people, and the planet on equal footings. And with the environment in mind, we have four eco-friendly design choices to help move everyone in the right direction.

Here are four ways you can make more sustainable design choices:

1. Digital doesn’t always mean sustainable

It’s easy to assume that digital materials are a silver bullet for the environment. But they’re not. Storing digital information requires data centres and those data centres are already devouring 2% of the global electricity supply. What’s more, cloud-based technologies account for a further 2% of global emissions. Incredibly, digital information and cloud-based tech has an expanding carbon footprint that’s already as big as the airline industry.

In comparison, the pulp, print and paper industry accounts for 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making the print sector one of the lowest of all industrial emitters.

  • Reducing your campaigns’ digital impact is possible with some easy steps:
    Avoid saving the same files in several locations – appoint a brand guardian and use a central location for large files. As a bonus, you’ll have better version control too.
  • Keep design files as small as possible without compromising on quality – your design agency can help you with this.
  • Be mindful when planning which materials you develop and send. Prioritise the best format for the objective – don’t automatically assume that digital is the cheapest or most sustainable option.

2. Get smart about packaging

Unfortunately, waste packaging is everywhere it shouldn’t be. Plastic packaging is difficult to recycle which means lots of it ends up in landfill or on roadsides and in the ocean. We’ve all seen pictures of marine life with stomachs full of plastic bags. It’s not good.

By choosing to reduce plastic packaging and making the plastic that is used recyclable, businesses can stop adding to the problem. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make it unnecessary. Does your product need packaging? Inks, dyes and labelling techniques allow you to cut packaging down to the minimum. One Good Thing make snack bars with edible packaging while many gift cards and membership cards are made from sturdy card instead of plastic.
  • Make it reusable. If your product needs packaging, can it be made reusable? Boxes and bags that can be reused for future postage are an easy win. What about attractive containers that can be used for plants or food storage? Are refills possible? Take a look at Samsung’s reusable TV packaging for inspiration or Purdy and Figg for a more personal touch on cleaning.
  • Make it recyclable. If nothing else, ensure your packaging is recyclable. Compostable is best, roadside recycling is good. Recycling that relies on specialist sorting or returns is laborious and often stops consumers from recycling.

3. Avoid making too much

Making too much of anything means wasting money and resources. Working with your suppliers and agencies to help minimise paper waste is an easy way to reduce your environmental impact. It can cut your costs too. Here are a few ideas:

  • Be realistic about the volumes you need for promotional materials and print what you need, not ‘some for spare’.
  • Get clever with the design of your leaflets, brochures and packaging – how can you communicate the same message and deliver the same impact with fewer materials?
  • Use on-demand print where appropriate. This means you only print what you need and can say farewell to boxes of beautiful marketing materials gathering dust.
  • Make your materials evergreen. The smallest typo can spell disaster, so get extra eyes on printed materials before the final nod. Can you avoid using season- or year-specific details in your materials? This will let you use your materials for longer.

4. Choose environmentally conscious suppliers

Choosing suppliers who put environmental sustainability at the centre of their operation is an easy way to reduce the impact of your work. B Corporations, often referred to as B-Corps, are companies verified as meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. Room11 is currently working towards being B Corp certified. It’s quite the journey and we’re learning lots – we’ll keep you posted on our progress!

Ready to plan a winning, sustainable campaign for your brand? Get in touch with us today.