Sustainable Maritime Interiors - 2022 Report

5 Getting started with something like this can be really intimidating and it’s easy to shrink away from the conversation and begin to believe that our business is just fundamentally not very sustainable. However, the reality is that humankind isn’t sustainable; we’re consuming natural resources at an alarming rate. While it’s easy to frighten ourselves out of action, we must find the courage to embrace these fears and make a difference now. We don’t need to solve every problem today; we just need everyone and every business to become a little more sustainable today and then a little more tomorrow, which will ultimately add up to a lot more in the future. It’s not possible to suddenly become sustainable but what we can do is work out how we can be more sustainable than we are today. If it is wired into our DNA and constantly in our thoughts and conversations, words and actions will follow. For example, what do we as designers prioritise when we partner with vendors? If we let suppliers know that sustainability is a high priority for us then our buying power can motivate them to make good choices – perhaps shifting how they spend their research dollars. Our industry is doing some amazing things on sustainability. In our last town hall meeting, there was a 30-minute session by our environmental group telling us about all of the sustainability initiatives they were involved in. I was so proud to hear all about it and it made me think that we need to share what the interiors team is doing with other brands and industry groups so that together, we can start to build up a massive repository of best practices that we can all follow. From humble beginnings in countless little silos, we’re gathering momentum. There are so many things that individual brands are doing today that perhaps other brands haven’t considered. If we could somehow collect and curate that knowledge and share it freely, we’d be taking a giant step forward. Openly sharing ideas is an easy next step. Then, if we can get a really big group together that’s well-organised and supported across brands with association and legislative support, we have the potential to do something massive. And that’s just in our interiors sector. What if every other passenger shipping department had the same trigger and then we all grouped together? That’s how you make really big change. Now is the time for groups to get together and start cracking this code – I wouldn’t feel so passionately about it if we were far enough ahead right now. When any cruise or ferry company works through a retrofit project, it’s easy to see opportunities for improvement. Finding workable solutions is much more challenging, especially when changing out spaces and trying to decide what can be done with usable furniture that is being replaced. I’m motivated to find solutions and yet over the last nine years that I’ve been in this new role, I would say that I’ve only been able to recycle or donate maybe 5 per cent of what might be possible. And this isn’t a problem unique to us, every brand has the same challenges. There’s such a great opportunity for us to recycle and reuse so many products but nobody has really found a way to do it at a scale that’s really making a difference – yet. We now need to have conversations that make us, other designers, shipyards and suppliers question their responsibilities. And we have to take those conversations to governments, industry associations and other stakeholders that can legislate change. Getting those stakeholders to cooperate to find solutions is going to take a lot of work. These are industry-wide problems and they are not small.