Sustainability meets design: Best practice examples, "cooking show" and material studies inspired at the online event

As part of the online event series for the international consumer goods fairs Ambiente, Christmasworld, and Creativeworld, Messe Frankfurt hosted three renowned expert speakers digitally. They presented the various aspects of sustainability in their varied lectures. At the online event Sustainability meets design, the focus was, of course, also on the relationship to design, underpinned by current examples. The topic was enthusiastic: over 1,400 interested people from more than 80 countries registered and were able to take away valuable ideas.

Before the three trade fairs, Ambiente, Christmasworld, and Creativeworld present the latest trends in sustainability and design live to trade visitors in Frankfurt am Main on 3-4 February 2023. The free online event Sustainability meets design provided initial insights into this multifaceted topic of the future. The focus was on the question: How do sustainability and design fit together? Three experts gave very different answers to this question - whether through best-practice examples, the presentation of alternative materials, or even a "cooking show." But the answer was always: yes, sustainability and design go together and are the dream team for the future.


Moderator Zackes Brustik (right) and Dorothe Klein, Head of Content Consumer Goods Fairs, at the opening of the Future Retail online event. Photo: Messe Frankfurt

Accompanied by the moderation of Zackes Brustik, Susanna Björklund presented interesting designers and new product ideas at the first lecture, "Sustainability and Empathy in Design," on 31 August 2022. The trend analyst and journalist from Finland naturally placed the main focus on the aspect of sustainability. She also rated the topics of transparency, quality, and empathy, which are closely linked to sustainability, as important. "I want there to be an encouragement to change. Design triggers an emotion just as much as the feeling or desire to act sustainably," Björklund said. She used several examples to show that functionality, design, and sustainability can go hand in hand. She introduced the new generation of designers who automatically think sustainability into the design process. "This is the future," said Björklund.   

Dr. Harald Gründl, Chairman Institute of Design Research Vienna, invited the participants to his "kitchen" for a cooking show. But it was not about new dishes or meals. In his lecture "Circular Design Rules," he presented "recipes" for how the circular economy works - with good and bad "ingredients." The focus was on the ten R's: in recycling, he cut up a PET bottle and used it to illustrate how small the proportion of plastic is that returns to the material cycle. "My example on refurbishment you all see very clearly on your electricity bill. Just replace an older light bulb that consumes 40 watts with an LED bulb that only consumes 8 watts - that's refurbishment and sustainability," said Gründl. With his ten "dishes," he wants to give the participants a taste of switching from a linear culture of consumption to a circular economy.  

In terms of content, Dr. Sascha Peters, Owner and Managing Director of the Future Agency for Materials and Technology Haute Innovation followed on directly from the previous speaker. He picked up on the circular economy again in his presentation on "Sustainable Material Technologies" and used concrete examples to demonstrate the implementation already in place. Biomass and the use of biodegradable materials played a decisive role for him. "In the 1960s, we took about 70 percent biomass from the environment. Today it is 160 percent. A rethink is urgently needed here," Peters said. His solution lies in recycling and new bio-based materials that are both durable and rapidly renewable. "Natural and technically produced materials must be separable. That's the only way sensible recycling works," Peters said. Just about any biomass is valuable for production, from coconut fibers to mushrooms to fish scales. "Just think out of the box," was his credo.

The two presentations by Susanna Björklund and Dr. Harald Gründl were recorded in German and English. They are available at: www.conzoom-solutions.messefrankfurt.com/sustainability-meets-design.

Next event
The next online event will take place on 12 October 2022 and will revolve around the latest developments in the Hospitality sector. More information will follow shortly.

The topics of the online events are of equal interest to retailers at Ambiente, Christmasworld, and Creativeworld and will be given their own platform at the trade fairs from 3-4 to 7 February 2023: the Conzoom Solutions Academy. Here, experts will speak daily on a separate stage about the latest trends and developments in the retail sector and provide further impetus for onsite and online business.

Ambiente, Christmasworld, and Creativeworld will, in the future, be held simultaneously at the Frankfurt exhibition center.

Ambiente/Christmasworld: 3 to 7 February 2023
Creativeworld: 4 to 7 February 2023


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