When it comes to sustainability and sustainability reporting, it’s not only about the what but also about the how. Imagine having sustainability defined as one of your company’s core values but then hiring a design studio that doesn’t have sustainability as theirs and might be inexperienced in designing and producing sustainably. No matter what your report says, if its design or choice of paper and binding doesn’t underline or even emphasize the content, the reader will struggle to believe what you’re writing.
Your perfect business partners are the ones that understand your needs and, at the same time, are experts in their field. A design studio can be great in design yet inexperienced in producing sustainably.
As a systemic studio with a special focus on sustainability, we start every project one step earlier than others: Instead of taking the content from the client and making it “look good,” we ask questions:
What do you actually want to communicate with whatever communication activity you’re planning?
What are some underlying values that might not specifically be part of a campaign or a business report, for example, but that you still want to communicate?
Even if you don’t communicate about sustainability, you can communicate sustainably. By defining company or communication values beforehand, we make sure the final product delivers your message in the best way possible.
In conversations, what is not said often tells us more about what is going on: Through someone’s body language, we learn the unspoken truths. In a way, it’s the same for business communication. Think of your message as spoken (or written) word and design as body language. All of a sudden, the value and importance of design – but also of the chosen medium and how it’s produced – becomes much clearer.
When it comes to print projects, it’s a mainstream belief that we’re doing enough if we opt for recycling paper. However, there’s much more to consider than just the type of paper. Something as seemingly simple as paper has a long tail supply chain that you – by implementing that product in your communication – have an influence on. Whether you’re commissioning an agency to produce a brochure or a catalogue, a leaflet, or direct mail, or even digitally, like a newsletter or your website, (Link) the end product is usually more than what a single company is producing. There’s the paper-producing company, the printer, transport companies, your website host, and many more – service providers you outsource work to but don’t really think about how that work is done.
Did your design or communication agency ever ask their producing partners if their facilities are powered by renewable energy? Or how the paper for your sustainability report has been produced, e.g. free of metals, using food waste maybe, or, again, powered by renewable energy? By outsourcing design, advertising, and communication to an agency, companies think that whatever happens on the agency’s behalf is out of their scope. In reality, this is what sustainability reporting in Scope 3 (Link) covers as well – and is therefore relevant for your business, too.
Which is why next time you decide to print something, consider working with a studio that has the expertise and experience as well as a local network of sustainable production partners to come up with the best and most sustainable solution currently available.