119 – “The guests’ demand for a sustainable product is increasing enormously and putting pressure on us and the owner” Successful designs integrate an environmentally friendly approach and consider natural resources as part of the design, at the same time as acknowledging their social, and economic impacts from the initial phase through to the end of life. The basic objectives are to reduce consumption of nonrenewable resources, minimise waste, and create healthy, productive environments. Trusted suppliers Good relationships with suppliers make it easier for designers to achieve innovative, durable and sustainable results. The first steps towards establishing trust are to understand and qualify prospective suppliers and their products. Where do they obtain their raw materials? How do they process them? What steps are evident in the supply chain to minimise the environmental footprint? When sourcing materials and products, design teams also need to know what questions to ask to rule out the possibility that marketing messages are based on greenwashing. A good place to start is establishing whether products come from verifiable and/or certified sources. Where the client has a ‘maker’ list’ of verified sustainable suppliers, this can persuade suppliers to improve the sustainability of their products or services to be included on the list. Additional items on a sustainability checklist might include a history of creating spaces that comply with environmental regulation and environmental protection, and ability to produce credible and recognised sustainability credentials. Other factors to look out for are the availability of a range of green options from the supplier, such as products based on natural resources or recycled material and using green energy in production and construction. Verification of supplier sustainability credentials, including through annual audits, is also helpful and enables confidence that recommended options will be compliant with all relevant legislation, regulation and best practices. The social aspect of sustainability should not be overlooked either. Examples include fair treatment of workers and avoidance of exploitative producers in the supply chain. Strategies such as selecting and prioritising local suppliers and manufacturers, or sourcing from communities that are easily accessible for transport of goods and are located as close as possible to where the construction is taking place, can help to reduce many harmful environmental impacts and cut costs for the client. Building strong local supply chains can also yield benefits far beyond reducing GHG emissions, allowing businesses to reduce logistical complexities and save on their transport budgets.