How do your ‘Green Credentials’ stack up?

Alongside the prominent voices of David Attenborough and Gretta Thunberg, consumers are increasingly protesting the devastating effects of climate change, even amid a global pandemic.

In the discussion of climate change you’ll hear terms such as SustainabilityEco-Friendly, and Green being used interchangeably. However, there are key differences in their definitions which are important to understand when playing our part in the fight against climate change. What do they truly mean, and how can we action truly sustainable design?


Sustainability refers to human activity coexisting with our planet, without exploitation of resources resulting in a negative effect on the lives of future generations. The availability and accessibility of sustainable alternatives to interior design materials are getting greater each day. Sustainable materials such as bamboo, locally sourced natural stone, recycled materials (glass, paper, aluminium), among others, are highly versatile in their applications and can offer visually stunning results whilst mitigating environmental impact.

Tunguska - LEFT Design | The materials used in the design were locally sourced, including locally mined solid granite for the bar and kitchen counters. The partitions and walls have been crafted from natural tree trunks, sustainably sourced from nearby forests. The result is a space that has a sense of familiarity to the local area, honouring the beauty of the Siberian natural habitat, whilst attributing minimal environmental impact.


Eco-Friendly is often found on the packaging of products and simply means that they’re not harmful to the environment. For a product to be certified as eco-friendly it must be able to demonstrate, through a voluntary process, that it is generally better for the environment than comparable products. Examples include the use of LED lighting or using eco-friendly adhesives, water-based paint, plaster boards, etc. Being certified with an eco-label means that it’s produced or used in an environmentally less damaging way, but does not necessarily mean that it is sustainable. There are many different types of eco-friendly certifications, each with their own measures and requirements for applications. For more information on eco-labels, click here.

Kowtow - Knight Associates | Towkow sought to create a space that conveyed their brand message and eco-friendly ethos. The design utilized traditional Japanese joinery techniques in the construction of their store, using interlocking beams instead of adhesives, screws or nails.


Green is a much broader term for things and practices that don’t have a negative impact on the environment. You can ‘be more green’ through making considered choices such as recycling, reducing and reusing, which can be applicable to anything from building sustainable design to material choices. Today, with innovations in manufacturing and recycling, there are more green alternatives than ever before. Plastics recycled from old phones, industrial waste, and even waste found out at sea, are now being transformed into beautiful modern surfaces and objects that mirror, if not exceed, the qualities of their traditional counterparts.

Ace & Tate | Amsterdam based eyewear company Ace & Tate's Antwerp store is certainly eye-catching, with bold and bright interior clad made from recycled, locally sourced plastic waste. Recycling nearly 1,000 kilograms of plastic waste for the project.

Circular Ecomony

The gold standard, when it comes to sustainable design, is Circular Economy. It considers the full life cycle of materials including the energy used to create them and how it can be used again when no longer needed in its current form. Counter to the traditional model of “take, make, dispose”, a Circular system looks to “reuse, share, repair, refurbish, remanufacture, and recycle”. It encompasses a Green mindset, Eco-Friendly measures, and Sustainability at its core.

Durat Palace | A Finish company pioneering circular economy for the last 27 years. They create beautiful surface materials that are 100% recyclable, using 100% recycled industrial waste plastic, only using natural pigments for colouring, and 100% renewable electricity in their manufacturing process.

Consuming responsibly by opting for eco-friendly products and being more green in our actions will help us to lead more sustainable lives. Guided by environmental considerations to help reduce consumption, pollution and waste, we have the information, technology and innovation to make a difference and create a sustainable example for future generations to follow.