Building Sustainability into Core Value Systems

Building Sustainability into Core Values Systems
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A newfound awareness of sustainability and social issues has become an important impetus for product development and business growth. In the context of the current market, burdened by both economic and energy crises, products that are simplified during the design process to reduce waste in manufacturing will in turn drive profits and business growth.

An organisation’s core value system is its most crucial asset for successful product development because it acts as an internal compass, guiding the business in each and every decision and interaction. Put simply, if sustainability is built into an organisation’s core, it will effectively drive product development and growth in an innovative way.


Nominally placing sustainability at the top of an organisation’s agenda is not enough. Instead, its principles must be built into its DNA in order to derive the right kind of involvement from employees. The values that this will espouse can then be instilled across the organisation, leading to production approaches and resulting projects that are inherently sustainable.


There are two approaches that could lead a company to embed sustainability into its core value system. One is to source government policy support – this route has been strongly promoted by the Chinese government, among others. It has successfully led several companies to focus on the idea of sustainable living as an opportunity to get government subsidised support for their business development. The other approach involves writing and embedding sustainable principles into a company’s founding values. The epitome of this tactic is illustrated by MUJI, which made sustainability the focal point of its brand with its slogan “no brand, quality goods”.


These two approaches are not mutually exclusive and can successfully be instilled into the models of industrial design companies, helping them build competitive edge within the market. However, companies looking to gain government support must be located or operating in a country with a sustainability agenda. Additionally, companies looking to inject sustainable practice into their DNA must successfully manage the challenge of clearly communicating and implementing a well-structured business plan and core value system to be closely followed and considered by everyone in the organisation.


Meet other experts on the topic, and check out their ideas in the following video:


Interested in finding out more about building a creative economy? Be sure to attend the MA Innovation Management Grad Show June 19-23 at Central St. Martins College of Arts & Design.