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Learn about the use of art and design for sustainable living
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Rebecca Brayton: Sustainable living is a dream that many people strive for but you shouldn't have to sacrifice style and design to get there. Hi! I am Rebecca Brayton and welcome to watchmojo.com and today we'll be speaking with Sarah Richardson, the brains behind CO. So first tell us about the idea behind CO.
Sarah Richardson: CO has been something I've been thinking about for a number of years now. It comes from my own experience working in trade and sustainability and my travels around the world where I have discovered amazing communities, making incredible things at very little. Two years ago, I was working in South Africa quite a bit and I would say that was really the tipping point for me when I decided that these products really were something that would be interesting to people in the West. They are contemporary, they are cool, they are funky and they are sustainable. That's fit in well with my own personal philosophy that we should be using globalization to enhance sustainability as oppose to allowing it to erode.
Rebecca Brayton: What can we consider sustainable and what is sustainability mean?
Sarah Richardson: There are three aspects: There is Social Equity, Environmental Protection and Economic Well-Being. Here, when we talk to people about sustainability, generally, the environmental issues are at top of their minds. When you go to other countries and talk about sustainability, you'll get quite a different answer. I mean the environmental issues are important but they are not as important as the issues of equity and the guarantee that workers have safe working environment and they are paid at decent wage.
Rebecca Brayton: What qualify something as sustainable?
Sarah Richardson: What we've done is we've developed a list of eight indicators of sustainability that we use here at CO. They range from energy efficiency to organic to recycled. When we consider a piece, we go through our indicators, we see which ones match up, now no one hits all eight indicators, but what we are trying to do is have at least three or four that are relevant for the products that we carry.
Rebecca Brayton: Would you say that sustainability is something that's attainable for everyone?
Sarah Richardson: I think sustainability is attainable to a certain degree in the choices we make. That means the choices we make as people in terms of what we are going to buy and it seems the choices we make in terms of what kind of businesses we're going to support. At the same time, we also think about where the things that we consume come from and who is making them under what conditions they have been made and we're trying to bring in things that will support that angle of sustainability.
As consumers that's interesting, we have a lot of power and often we can move faster than governments in terms of promoting sustainability. And what I am hoping is that this gallery offers people just another choice.