During the recently concluded Kyoorius Design Yatra 2008, Harsh Purohit of Cognito spoke about the biggest challenge facing the Indian design community: sustainability.
Purohit defined sustainability as the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generation to meet their problems. “It is a big design problem,” he said. There are three bottom lines to sustainability: environmental, social and financial. And there are four key drivers of sustainability which Purohit defined as 4Ps. These include profits, protests, policies and preservation.
“Every product needs to be reinvented ‘green’ or to be replaced. Many products are moving from development to commercialisation. This means development of new products, new principles which means loads of new work for communication designers- but this is new work,” he said.
According to Purohit, sustainability has reached its tipping point. Now everyone is on to it including the media and consumers. “45% of the population is now willing to buy green products. There are new consumer categories like Greenfluencers, Bobos (people from 1960s and 1980s), Bonos (who feel that business should not dominate society) and cultural creatives (inward looking, socially conscious).”
“The activists are always on to sustainability. On April 29th 2008, Greenpeace briefly inhabited offices of Lexis PR, Ogilvy, JCPR, all who worked for Unilever’s Dove brand. Even the government is onto it. On June 30, 2008, India lunched is plan for climate change. Nobel jury is on to it and even the gods are on to it (Green Ganesha Awards).
Purohit said that now even the design studios are on to the sustainability issue. “We publish sustainability reports for companies like Reliance, Mahindra and ABN Amro.” He concluded by saying that “Sustainability is a self created problem. It is about saving ourselves from ourselves.”