I am excited to announce that the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK) has committed to fully align its academic strategy with the UN’s

Billions of people globally are looking to actively promote their health and preserve life in a way that minimizes social and environmental impact. Let me just highlight three facts to explain the potential of this movement: 1) According to Nielsen, 66% of the world’s 2.5 billion consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products 2) The global demand for organic personal care products is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018, according to Transparency Market Research 3) Mintel states that 74% of US Baby Boomers say that conscience guides their buying decisions.

These numbers give me hope. Hope that people across the world are ready and motivated to change their behaviors and adopt a sustainable lifestyle with new ways of living, eating, working and moving around in a sustainable way that protects natural and social resources.
Thankfully, businesses in every sector are already innovating and offering new sustainable products and services to meet the growing consumer demand. Just take a look at the Sustainia100 and Cities100 publications and you see how pioneers from all over the world are innovating new solutions that will eventually help us create a more sustainable future.

Despite these encouraging trends the development is too slow. If we continue at the current pace we are unlikely to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals before the deadline of 2030 (source: “Future of Spaceship Earth”, DNV-GL, 2016).
Some may see this as a de-motivating risk: everyone is doing their best and still we are moving closer and closer to climate disasters and the collapse of eco-systems. However, in every risk lies an opportunity. I strongly believe that we have the tools and the resources to change this trajectory and, with the launch of Sustainia Living, we will soon have an engagement and innovation platform to focus our efforts and attention on what really matters: new lifestyles, new consumption patterns, new products and new services that bring us closer to the world we want.

To accelerate positive change, sustainability needs to be integrated in the design phase of new product development. And this is exactly why Sustainia Living is so important and why we are so excited to be partnering with KADK on this journey.
I think it’s quite remarkable that an academic institution is focusing so intently on sustainability, and KADK’s decision stems not only from a sense of global citizenship but from the fact that there is a growing demand for sustainable products and designs that can help put the world on a more sustainable path. The creative forces of KADK have the potential to spark a new growth adventure for companies, and we are thrilled to be part of this three-year journey in which we will demonstrate and explore how global goals can be realized through smart constructions and designs.
More specifically, the new sustainable focus will entail workshops and activities across all academic programs rooted in the 17 goals, as well as a requirement that all final projects address one or more of the global goals.

The final projects and designs will be integrated into a digital platform that not only aims to inspire more sustainable architecture and design, but also to encourage other academic institutions to pursue more sustainable academic strategies.

KADK has already demonstrated a unique ability to create designs that address key global challenges. One example is the “Chemo to go” bag, which is specially designed to allow cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to move around freely instead of being bound to their sick bed. This significantly improves the quality of life for the patient. The world is in need of projects like these, and Sustainia is delighted to help them reach broader audiences.

Author: Joachim Marc Christensen