WEDNESDAY 19 NOV 2014 12:34 PM


The first of a series of supper clubs organised by Blond Ideas Group kicked off with the question “Sustainability: a waste of space?” The discussion moved through the demands of sustainable living, highlighting the new generational targets of sustainable living and sustainable business – the suburban families who swapped the VW campervan for the suburban home – the “Yes, buts...”

The evening was kicked off by Duncan Baker-Brown taking the audience through the UK’s first house built entirely from waste. The house’s tagline reads: “There is no such thing as waste, just things that are in the wrong place.” Espousing that ethos, the house, made from carpet tiles, denim off-cuts, video tapes and toothbrushes, was a visual representation of the sheer volume of waste that ends up on landfills.

After discussion with the audience, it was decided that recycling, although massively important, could not be the first step. The house made of waste proved the point of just how much waste can be recycled, but it should not have been available in the first place.

Discussion alit on the concept of reusing an item before it needs to be or is recycled, and before it is reused, the amount of materials bought in the first place should be reduced. Dr David Greenfield expanded on this point this with two more Rs – remanufacture and redesign.

The “Yes, but...” generation is addressed by Lorenzo de Rita, the second speaker. He takes the conversation further into how businesses should also be following the five Rs – and sticking to them. It’s not enough to have the belief that, “I show my good face, and I become sustainable somehow,” which he asserts most businesses possess. Business has to sustain sustainability.

For companies, the practical solutions decided by the audience were to show the impact on the environment, don’t just tell it, and to keep the sustainability story consistent and transparent. In other words, a business’ reputation as a sustainable organisation will only hold if sustainability is a reflex, rather than an image crafted deliberately. Olga Savina, senior strategic planner at Blond Ideas Group adds, “If you’ve got the talk – walk it.”