The fashion industry. An industry that has long been a major contributor to environmental degradation, and is now under increasing pressure to become more sustainable. But we can’t help but wonder, why does the interior design industry slip under the radar?
In this article, Accouter Group of Companies explore the significance of the interior’s industry making both ethical and sustainable changes, and how our B Corp™ certified collective is paving the way for luxury’s new generation.
The fashion industry has indeed received notable and significant attention for its environmental impact, particularly due to its association with fast fashion and the production of clothing at a large scale. However, it is important to note that the interiors industry must also be subject to scrutiny when considering its sustainability practices.
One large reason as to why this industry may appear to stay out of the spotlight compared to fashion is the difference in consumer visibility. Clothing is more visible on an every-day basis, and is often a personal expression of style. This therefore leads to a higher degree of public awareness and scrutiny. In contrast, interior design choices, especially within the luxury sector, tend to be more private, and the impact of individual purchasing decisions may be less visible to others. This can result in a lower level of public awareness and attention on the sustainability practices within the interiors industry.
Another factor is that the fashion industry has been more readily associated with issues like labour rights and unethical production practices, which have captured public attention. The prevalence of “fast fashion” and the rapid turnover of clothing collections have drawn criticism for contributing to overconsumption and waste. These factors have fuelled public discussions, activism, and media coverage, directing attention to the fashion industry’s environmental impact.
However, it is important to mention that sustainability concerns in the interiors industry are gradually turning more heads. As environmental awareness increases, consumers are becoming more conscious of the materials, manufacturing processes, and supply chains behind furniture and home goods. Additionally, sustainability certifications and standards for the interiors industry, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Cradle to Cradle, are gaining traction, helping to raise awareness and accountability.
While the interiors industry may not receive as much attention as the fashion industry, this doesn’t mean that the world of interior design doesn’t care. Sustainability in interiors is starting to become a part of the larger conversation on environmental responsibility. At the Accouter Group of Companies, we are pioneering our mission to bring this conversation to the forefront, to broaden the awareness and to therefore make better decisions for our planet.
AGC ARE B CORP™ CERTIFIED – WHAT DOES ACTUALLY THIS MEAN?
Earlier this year, Accouter Group of Companies were proud to announce our B Corp™ certification, being the first British Interior Design Collective to achieve this. Although the discourse of sustainability has risen significantly in recent years, the definition of a B Corp™ and how it develops us as a luxury studio may not be so clear.
B Corps™ are defined as businesses that want to achieve more than just making a profit. Their company goals and values are committed to creating a positive impact on their employees, communities, clients and suppliers throughout their strategic decisions and operations.
As a B Corp™, our brands including Accouter take a holistic approach, understanding that the overall design and specification process itself is not the only way for us to be responsible and considerate. Sustainable milestones, as well as our Manifesto, gives our environmental ambitions credibility, and therefore proves our mission to be both purposeful and achievable. However, our B Corp™ design practice also must pay as much attention to our Social responsibilities and Corporate governance. This certification ticks every box in relation to a full ESG strategy.
BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ACCOUTER’S PROCESS & CLIENTELE?
“Both on the run up to and after achieving our certification, our process here at Accouter has gradually shifted.
We are constantly working on strategies and educating our supply chains to allow for our clients to purchase fully responsible and traceable product, in environmentally friendly packaging.
The key changes we have incorporated at our studio include finding local suppliers in the areas which we are designing interiors for, instead of further national or international suppliers. Not only is this supporting local businesses, but it also helps to protect our planet.
Another change to our process, is that we work with a trusted select group of craftsmen and artisans here in the UK, saving unnecessary emissions, meaning that we are being mindful of our carbon footprint.
Additionally, we are working towards incorporating antique, heirloom treasures within our designs, which have the opportunity to be recycled and gifted to generations to come. Ultimately, Accouter are now designing sustainably, with longevity in mind for both our clients and studio itself…”
-Lucy Day-Shanks, Accouter Group Director
AS BRITAIN’S FIRST B CORP™ CERTIFIED INTERIOR DESIGN COLLECTIVE, WE HAVE MADE 5 PROMISES:
- We commit to proving to you that we can make a positive impact on the world by acting and evolving as a responsible company.
- We promise to direct our efforts on measures that deliver the biggest impacts, aiming to continuously review and improve AGC’s environmental performance.
- We pledge to play our part in building an industry that is filled with, and supports talent from all backgrounds, abilities, ages and identities.
- We believe in the power of kindness, and pledge to use the powers of our business to create a positive impact on society. We support the Red Cross and charities that mean the most to our people.
- We understand that being a ‘Force for Good’ is a journey without a destination and we are committed to continuously improve and evolve our business for good. For more information regarding our B Corp journey please click here.
AGC’S WALPOLE ASSOCIATION
In 2021, Accouter Group of Companies announced our membership with Walpole alongside leading British brands such as Burberry, Fortnum & Mason and Claridges. We are thrilled to be part of such a prestigious membership and to be a part of such an important movement within the luxury space.
Walpole’s mission is to promote and enhance the British luxury sector across the globe, and it has helped to reinforce AGC’s luxury brand positioning, but also supports our B Corp™ journey. As a member of Walpole, we attend sustainability round tables to both inspire and be inspired by these leading luxury brands with the aim to collaboratively improve Environmental, Social and Governance goals. As a result, AGC has created a Sustainability Manifesto in-line with Walpole’s to further create consistency, and pioneer new benchmarks in the luxury industry as a whole.
“Through our Sustainability Manifesto, we aim to support Walpole in their quest to transform the British luxury sector into a world leader in sustainability. Our manifesto is formal statement setting our goals and ambitions across AGC’s 4 pillars of sustainability and it recognises the importance of reducing our impact on the environment within a socially conscious and well governed company. This never-ending journey will assist in defining luxury’s next generation.”
-Stella Gittins, Co-Founder and Group Director
You can read more about Walpole’s sustainability ambitions here.