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Q&A with Lone Ditmer, Dansk Wilton

Sustainable Design Summit (SDS) will be returning to London on 28 November 2023. Now in its second year, the event will be turning its attention from conversation to action, with the aviation, hotel and cruise design industries converging at the Museum of London Docklands to connect and share knowledge to spark climate change.

We sat down with Lone Ditmer, Marketing Manager & Sustainable Business Development at Dansk Wilton, the innovative minds behind Cradle to Cradle Certified recycled carpet solutions for the cruise industry to discuss sustainability within this sector. Read on for her takes on the importance of sustainable conversations, what she’s looking forward to most about SDS, and the biggest sustainable challenges currently facing the cruise interiors industry.

Why do we need to have these conversations about sustainable design now?

It is obvious that our climate and planet are under pressure and that businesses must take greater responsibility – regardless of where we are in the value chain. We must of course continue to ensure a profitable business, but we must also have a purpose that goes beyond profit. This is future-proofing our activities and being able to attract future generations, both as employees and customers.

If we look at the products used in the hospitality segment, the biggest impact is not in the use phase itself, but in the production of the products. Already in the design phase, some decisive choices are made and if we succeed in embracing more sustainable solutions here, we are well on our way.

At the same time, design is an essential part of the guest experience and as guests we want to feel good about ourselves when we are on holiday – a feeling that can be supported with a conscientious design approach. All in all, design has a big impact!

The first steps don’t have to be that difficult. In addition, it is both an exciting, innovative, and rewarding journey.

Why is a forum such as the Sustainable Design Summit the right place to do so?

For us as a company, and for me personally, it is crucial to get new inspiration, share knowledge, network, and form new partnerships, across companies and industries.

I believe that it is crucial that we do not just push demands and challenges further down the value chain, but look for solutions together. It is not easy, but when we feel commitment from both suppliers and customers, it gives us renewed energy and belief that we can succeed.

SDS is a space for gaining inspiration, sharing knowledge, networking and forming new partnerships

What are the biggest sustainable questions on your mind? What are the sustainable headaches you want resolved?

Oh, there are many! And I guess that is one of the challenges! Focusing on one element of the sustainable agenda can create problems on other parameters. It is complex and we must embrace this complexity. For example, we cannot only focus on CO2 emissions, we have to look more holistically at the problems that need to be solved. So, the first thing is that I would like a broad focus across initiatives and activities.

The next challenge is the equation of recycled materials with sustainable materials. That is far from the case. Recycling is good, of course, and we should all strive for a circular economy, but we must include material health just as we must not forget natural, rapidly renewable resources. Especially in hospitality design, healthy materials and a healthy indoor climate are essential.

When talking about a circular economy, we have to look at a product’s life cycle as well as durability and keep the product as long as possible in the first phase of use before recycling the material.

When it comes to recycling initiatives, the challenge is that there are few technological solutions available for upcycling waste and that these processes are rather expensive. And existing structures and systems make it difficult to collect and handle waste as a resource.

We cannot wait for the 100% perfect solution to be produced. We must experiment, test and fail. It is part of the innovation process and makes us wiser. It costs time and money, but it is necessary. And in the innovation process, we must remember that “perfect is the enemy of good”.

What would you like to learn from the industries and other companies that will be present at SDS?

It is important for us to discuss with our customers – hotels and cruise ships – how we can support them in their sustainability strategy and resource management. Further, we like to hear our customers’ ideas on how a sustainable design approach can be part of the guest experience.

Furthermore, I would like to hear how other suppliers work with sustainability, what goals they set and how they work to achieve them. As inspiration for our own journey.

It is also motivating to see and feel a community coming together in the desire to create a more sustainable future for the industry. So, I clearly expect to leave the Sustainable Design Summit with higher hopes, new connections, several impulses and ideas for our continued sustainable development.

SDS provides a forum for those who want to create a more sustainable future for design industries

Want more of this?

Eager to learn more about sustainable design and spark climate change? Sustainable Design Summit provides a year-round global platform dedicated to making sustainable choices easier for interior designers working in the hospitality travel interiors sectors. Find out about the next event here.

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