Considered Logistics + Disposal
As a vehicle for fabrication and production across many disciplines, it is impossible for us to ignore our contribution to resource use, waste, and carbon emissions. Our projects, interesting and beautiful though they may be, are created using methods and materials that must be carefully considered just as in any other application.
Shonoglolo is committed to proactively seeking progressive, thoughtful alternatives to how production, shipment, disposal, and overall environmental impact are approached. We are not a perfect organization, but our goal is to incrementally decrease our ecological footprint as we push forward an environmentally conscious sourcing and fabrication strategy.
Sustainable Methods + Materials
In 2020, we will be placing resources behind research and partnership with some of the most progressive labs and companies exploring and providing sustainable production methods and materials.
From crustacean-derived chitin bioplastics, to bacteria-grown iridescent paints, to tropical wood substitutes that replicate fine woods without destroying vulnerable rain forest - we are positioning ourselves for a new sustainable manufacturing toolkit, specifically with artists and designers in mind.
Our vision is to provide artists and designers first access to emerging green technologies across the fields of manufacturing and material science. Artists have a long history of partnership with scientific innovators, frequently pushing technologies beyond their intended uses into new uncharted territory. This artistic exploration can push our conception of the sensory world forward, but also propose novel scientific questions which otherwise may not have been asked. The cumulative effect is tangible, beautiful innovation.
We hope to act as bridge-builders between material innovators seeking creative collaborators and artists seeking out new, more considered and sustainable approaches to producing their work.
When thinking about eco-consciousness in the context of production, method and material are just two aspects of the total cycle. The logistics to transport a piece from its place of production to its destination, the intended life of a work, and how it will be disposed of at the end of that life are all items we try to anticipate at the start of any project.
Logistics can vary significantly depending on the scale of a project, but factors including route efficiency, idling time, and type of vehicles used can all contribute to carbon emissions. regardless. Whenever possible, we ship using logistics providers that incorporate telematics and data-driven efficiency monitoring of their fleets, alternative fuel/electric vehicles, and carbon monitoring programs. One such program, UPS Carbon Neutral, calculates the CO2 emissions produced from each shipment and manages the purchase and retiring of carbon offsets.
The end of a project's life cycle can be bittersweet, but is critical to consider early on. With shorter-term projects (e.g., pop-ups, temporary installations), we evaluate ways to reduce material usage in the design phase, determine recycling/re-use scenarios of the base material and finished parts, and research best practices for disposing of remaining parts. We are in search of ever more materials which are adaptable in the outputs they can make, but also in their ability to naturally or chemically biodegrade.
For longer-term and permanent projects, such as public art pieces, our focus is longevity and durability. We partner with fabricators to strategize materials and treatments that reduce the need for maintenance, repair, and most importantly, replacement.
As a practice, Shongololo strives to be mindful in our efforts to reduce contribution towards the current ecological, environmental, and climate crisis. The unfortunate reality, though, is that there are still many factors of our business which are simply out of our control.
As manufacturing technologies stand, there are many projects which will continue to rely on less resource efficient means of production or use materials that can't be adequately recycled or biodegradably disposed of.
In an attempt to address this, Shongololo pledges to contribute 3% of our total annual operating profits towards the purchase of carbon credits, beginning in 2020. These credits will be used for various carbon offsetting initiatives throughout the world, facilitated by the NGO, Cool Effect. Projects include reforestation, preservation of endangered wildlife habitats, and working with communities in Malawi and Peru to build fuel-efficient and healthier cook stoves. Our intention is to progressively increase our donation portion on an incremental basis.
While we know that this alone will not solve the environmental issues we are facing as a global community, we aspire to at the very least acknowledge our contribution and do what we can to offset it.