Forward Thinking 2015

More than 250 people from design, apparel and textile industry gathered in the Jakobs Church in Oslo to be inspired on how to implement sustainability successfully in daily business. 2025design was co-hosting this event and gave an introduction to labels and tools, together with NICE fashion.
Main attractions on this day were the great guest speakers; Alan Atkisson introduced the big picture of the planet by singing a lot of the message. Vincent Stanley from Patagonia talked about Beyond Sustainability – their New way to think about a regenerative business. Paul Dillinger, Head of Design and Innovation at Levis explained how their first Well Thread Design project failed by making it a niche collection, and how now these design principles of quality, environment, transparency and social aspects are included into mainstream Levis jeans. Nellie Cohen from Patagonia introduced their Worn Wear program of repair and reuse to highlight how product lifetime is essential to sustainability, and how much the affection to products counts. Also the Norwegian Wool project from Scandinavian Business Seating was presented, and SDG introduced their Trippel project.

View videos of all presentations here

The importance of Lifetime

When planning a product you must see beyond the material choice. Materials
have different impacts and you may think you are doing great when choosing
biodegradable viscose from sustainable source. Fact is you must count the
expected lifetime as well. Disposable viscose cloths add up to a huge
environmental footprint over a year with its total amount of fiber used. A
reusable cotton cloth has higher fiber production impact but win in the long
run by being washed and reused over the year. The fear of smelly non-hygenic
cloth can be avoided by design and smart creations.

CV – Kjersti

Kjersti Kviseth – Work lifecycle

I grew up on a farm near Trondheim, Norway, learning early about appreciating nature and animals. Aged 19 I headed for Germany and music studies, before I found my place to be at the Design Department in the Muthesisus Schule, Kiel, where I got my diploma in furniture design 1987.

Sustainability Manager
Back at my roots I started to work in the Norwegian furniture industry. My first big love relation at work came as product developer at HÅG asa (now Scandinavian Business Seating), the major office seating brand in Scandinavia and among top 10 in Europe. As product developer and project manager, I was amongst others responsible for developing new textile collections. From 1991 I created and developed my position as Sustainability Manager where I stayed for 10 years. Being a designer employed in R&D, I had the best position to create product focused strategies and projects.
I worked with everything from Design principles and Environmental Performance Declarations to Waste management and Supplier development. We were among the very first Norwegian companies to receive ISO 14000 and EMAS certifications, as well as piloting EPDs. Much more than these fact based schemes, my work was about product development or eco-design. I was inspired by The natural step, Deep Ecology and the ideas of closing material loops.
In 1997 we launched a chair with main components made of recycled bottle caps, a joint project with the supplier network. And we set up a take-back scheme for used chairs in Europe, in cooperation with recyclers in Holland and Norway, that never became a big hit because people preferred to take their old chairs home instead, the backside of long lifetime and high quality.
Design principles and guidelines for product development were early in place, being my favourite topic. We focused on reducing resource consumption, closing material loops, long lifetime, designing products easy to assemble and disassemble, as well as recyclable, proving that making sustainable choices were good for the economical bottom line as well. Customers still may get the question we introduced early; Do you really need a new chair? Or can we upgrade your old one? Designing products with easy replaceable and affordable spare parts was part of the game.
In addition we did a lot of training and knowledge transfer to employees, building a corporate global network for sustainability, and our annual report on economy and environment got awarded a few times. HÅG had a great corporate culture of supporting creativity and individuals, as well having fun and “sharing bread and thoughts”. It was for me the best place to grow.

Teaching Eco-design

After 10 years of Sustainability management I left HÅG to teach “Eco-Design” at both the Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU) and Akershus University College for a few years, the latter including co-creating a Master Degree program on Sustainable Design. This work brought me to China several times for giving seminars on Eco-Design at Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology with Norwegian and Chinese students.

Design for lifecycles
Already late 90`s I learned about Cradle to Cradle Design and, putting a lot of what I had already done into a new conceptual framework. I cooperated with Michael Braungart and his EPEA office for several years as “Cradle to Cradle” representative in Norway. When starting 2025design around 2005, together with Tore Gulden, we were the first Design office in Europe to be Cradle to Cradle Design approved.
In 2025design we have focused upon consulting industry and business on Sustainability strategies, Cradle to Cradle way of thinking, material choices, product hot-spot screening and Concept developments.
We now use the term Design for lifecycles to describe our holistic approach to product creation, including emotional factors and longevity, not limiting our work to Cradle to Cradle.

Textiles and wool
The last years I have been mainly working with textile industry and a lot with wool, being part of research projects on Norwegian Wool. I represent the International Wool Textile Organisation at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and am part of Textile Exchange work on the Responsible Wool Standard. In cooperation with Kristin Støren Wigum GAIA Trondheim, and DOGA I set up an exhibition Lev Vel (Live Well) in 2014, and continue to work with DOGA on raising awareness in the Norwegian textile industry.

Textile Exchange Conference Mumbai

Kjersti was invited to speak on “Animal Welfare in Sustainability” at the annual conference.  Addressing the fact that sustainability today is seen as a human activity to ensure our needs and business values, not to sustain life on the planet as such. Referring to Arne Næss` Deep ecology and philosophies that state that all life on earth has an inherent value. Hence there is no sustainability without good animal welfare. And no good animal welfare without human welfare. Everything is linked together and based upon love for all that is. Animal welfare is deeply connected to Human welfare, land management and predator strategies.

Kjersti is also on the advisory group for T.E.s work on Responisble Wool Standard (RWS)

Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)

Kjersti has been representing IWTO (International Wool Textiles Organisation) in SAC since 2013. This time the meeting was in Osaka with 250 delegates from 133 global brands represented. Some great conversations and meetings took place.
A pilot tool version was launched of the Design and Development Module, where Kjersti has been actively involved in the working group for more than a year. What started out with high ambitions to become a designer`s tool covering the complete lifecycle, has become a simplified tool for design and development choices from Cradle-to-gate, giving material choice 90% of the impact. Looking  forward to pilot testing!
The Facilities Environmental Module is the most advanced with a verification pilot already starting and 2000 facilities have so far implemented this Higg Index module. A Social and Labor Convergence Project together with actors from civil society was also launched.

The Coalition’s main focus is on building the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain suite of measurement tools for all industry participants to understand the environmental and social and labor impacts of making and selling their products and services. By joining forces in a Coalition, we can address the urgent, systemic challenges that are impossible to change alone. A common language is also the first step to efficient transparency.

The Sustainable Apparel coalition was born from a dynamic and unconventional meeting of the minds. In 2009 Walmart, America`s biggest retailer and Patagonia, one of the world`s most progressive brands, came together with a radical mission: Collect peers and competitors from across the apparel, footwear and textile sector and together, develop a universal approach to measuring sustainability performance.