Inaugural speeches: For truly sustainable design a new approach is needed

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Materials getting scarce, and oceans full of plastic: a radical redesign of our business models, production processes and consumer behaviour is needed.

Latest News | TU Delft

News - 09 May 2019 - Communication

Materials getting scarce, and oceans full of plastic: a radical redesign of our business models, production processes and consumer behaviour is needed, according to Profs Conny Bakker and Ruth Mugge. During the 50th jubilee year of Industrial Design Engineering in Delft, on 10 May they will hold their inauguration speeches on design for sustainability in a joint public address.

From 1970 to 2019, the global extraction of materials for our products grew from 27 billion to 92 billion metric tonnes per year. This material extraction contributes to approximately half or our climate impacts, according to the UN Resources Outlook 2019. Next to this, between 1,1 and 8,8 million metric tons of plastics end up in our seas and oceans every year, to the detriment of marine ecosystems and even humans themselves. These plastics cause enormous pollution in our environment due to their chemical structure and extreme slow rate of degradation.

To design truly sustainable products and services a new approach is needed, according to the two new professors at TU Delft. In her speech, Bakker places emphasis on the business models and production schemes: she researches the way industrial designers can incorporate sustainability in their design practice. The focus of the research of Mugge is more on the consumer side: how can design help stimulate sustainable consumer behaviour. These are two sides of the same coin, which is why the two speeches are given in a joint address.

TU Delft and the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering are proud of the fact that with Conny Bakker and Ruth Mugge, two female professors that have progressed through our own education programmes as students will lead the charge on research into design for sustainability.

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