Design Council announces Design for Planet festival to coincide with COP26

Plan set out to engage designers with key climate change issues as part of two day festival, which looks to forge better links between designers and leaders in sustainability.

The Design Council has announced a new strategic focus to address climate change, which will see the organisation put on a two-day festival during COP26, the United Nations’ climate change conference, which will be attended by world leaders in Glasgow in November.

Design for Planet is the Design Council’s initiative to “mobilise” the UK’s 1.69 million-strong design community, according to its CEO Minnie Moll, who says designers have “the power and responsibility” to help address the climate emergency.

“The start of a new era”

Speaking today at the London Design Festival event Planted Unearthed, Moll hailed “the start of a new era” concerning action against climate change.

“Design shapes the world and designers have the power and the responsibility to help address the climate emergency,” she says. “Design for Planet is the start of a new era, one that moves from destruction to regeneration.”

A big part of the initiative will include partnering with experts and leaders in sustainability. This in turn will create resources that “will empower designers”, Moll says.

“Design as a powerful agent of change”

The initiative will see the Design Council take over V&A Dundee for two days during COP26.

A live-streamed event taking place between 9 and 10 November, it will feature more than 100 experts and “thousands” more participating online both in the UK and beyond.

In keeping with the Design Council’s new focus, the event will champion “design as a powerful agent of change”. Visitors can expect talks, practical sessions and design tools and a full list of speakers will be announced over the coming weeks.

Speakers announced so far

Speakers announced today include Dr Leyla Acaroglu, a named UN Champion of the Earth and award-winning designer and sociologist, and Sophie Thomas, a leader in sustainable design and behaviour change and head of Thomas Matthews.

Other designers involved so far include Natsai Audrey Chieza, a designer working in biotechnology, and Chris Lefteri, an expert in materials and their design application.

Non-designers will also be involved, including “doughnut economics” economist Kate Raworth.

“The fundamental need for us all to redesign our lives”

The Design Council says its shift in focus and subsequent festival is a bid to “recognise the fundamental need for us all to redesign our lives”.

It runs in concurrence with the Government’s wider One Step Greener campaign, which seeks to create a “mass movement” of collective action to prevent the climate emergency.

The Design Council says its Design for Planet announcement at Planted Unearthed is the first of many events it will be involved in around COP26.

Further events will speak to the organisation’s work in commissioning research, delivering programmes and influencing government policy.

For more information on Design for Planet, head to the website.

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