Going green with Saturday Indesign

This year’s Saturday Indesign comes at a crucial point for humanity, where we are being urged to act, and act quickly, to stop the irreversible destruction of our climate. As members of Australia’s design industry, we recognise that we have an important role to play in creating and advocating for change, not just in how we educate and communicate with our audiences but how we set an example for positive shifts in our shared environments. 

That’s why, in 2022, we are proud to announce our first ever Sustainability Partners for Saturday Indesign, who have joined us on the journey toward creating a more sustainable event. Autex Acoustics and Interface – both industry leaders in their respective emission reduction plans – have spent the last few months working alongside us to question, examine and offset elements of the event, as the first step in a journey toward a net-zero event. 

“Saturday Indesign is not only an event that brings the industry together, we believe it is a platform to inspire and encourage positive change, especially with regard to the planet and its people,” says Aidan Mullan, Sustainability Manager at interface. “Interface has been manufacturing locally for over 50 years and has been driving sustainability programs to eliminate waste and reduce our carbon footprint for over half of that. As part of our Mission Zero and Climate Take Back initiatives we not only design and manufacture verified 100 per cent carbon neutral products, but through dedication and dogged passion we have developed carbon negative products which are regenerative by nature. However, we know that we cannot repair our climate alone. This calls for radical collaboration with our customers and fellow industry suppliers and the collective will to create systems and processes to become restorative.” 

If we look at the scope of Saturday Indesign, with multiple locations, a free transport network, hospitality, bags and technology, there are many steps to be taken in lowering and offsetting our combined energy output. 

“As a product designer and manufacturer with a 50-year history, creating sustainable products has always been at the heart of our organisation, and we are proud to be carbon neutral in everything we do,” says Kirk Schmidt, General Manager of Autex Acoustics, Australia. In many ways, Saturday Indesign’s approach to reducing our environmental impact is drawn from the process implemented by industry partners, whose multifaceted approach to their own impact sets a precedent for treading more lightly on this earth. Schmidt notes, “We take a systematic approach to avoiding, reducing, and removing the emissions associated with our operations and products to ensure our business and acoustic solutions are carbon neutral.” 

If you can make something carbon neutral, why wouldn’t you? 

Interface is partnering with Saturday Indesign to offset elements of the event to help us on our journey toward a more sustainable event reality. Interface has worked with the bus providers and a number of showrooms to calculate energy emissions from the day of the event, offsetting these elements through their own expertise in the space. 

“The first step in decarbonising our planet is to cut our dependency on fossil fuels by reducing our energy consumption and transitioning to renewable energy sources,” says Mullan. “Of course while we are doing this we are still emitting carbon into our atmosphere. Carbon offsetting allows us to not only neutralise these emissions but also drive investment in a renewable future. It is for this reason Interface wants to offset exhibitor showroom energy consumption and transport fuel use for the Saturday Indesign event, hopefully raising awareness of our carbon impacts and starting conversations on the ways these can be reduced.” 

Making Positive Changes 

Perhaps most importantly, we are looking to break the cycles of single-use practices which often come with event production, with our collateral for this year being able to be re-used for future iterations of the event. 

Autex Acoustics has implemented a similar approach, moving from the traditional design template to considering how they can minimise the production of waste and repurpose what is left. “We believe that we have a responsibility to ensure our products are as sustainable as possible and doing so is critical to our focus: to maintain our position as a carbon neutral organisation offering carbon neutral products, and leading the industry to a more sustainable future,” comments Schmidt. 

Education and Creativity 

This year, the theme for the Project is “regeneration”, which asks participating brands and creatives to create an installation or activation that explores the act of becoming. In doing this, brands were asked to keep sustainability front of mind, with brands opting to use product offcuts which would otherwise be disposed of, do digital-based projects or look at expanding the life-span of their creations. 

The program also offers attendees the chance to expand their own knowledge on sustainability and inform their practice moving forward. Seeho Su host a panel discussion, “20/20 Vision, Towards a more Sustainable Future” at 11am, Thinking Works explore “Sustainable Design Principles” at 10:30am, Steelcase dive into “Designing for the Circular Economy” at 12pm, while drop into Space Furniture to see their interactive exhibition “Shaping our Future” or Flokk to discover the über sustainable HÅG Tion task chair. 

A Step To a Better Future 

For many of us, the last two years have been something of a chrysalis, where global events have forced us to examine our role in the world and ask just what kind of world we will be leaving behind. Saturday Indesign, having long occupied a space of design leadership, has been informed by these very questions and is proud to join many members of our design and construction space in paving the way toward a more sustainable future of events. 

Saturday Indesign thanks our inaugural Sustainability Partners, Autex Acoustics and Interface. 

Register your attendance to Saturday Indesign, 21 may 2022 here