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TCDL 2022 winners collage
Press release from the Sustainable Markets Initiative 28 September 2023

The Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta Design Lab returns to find student led, high impact solutions to the climate crisis

This year the schools taking part in the challenge are Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (UAE), National Institute of Design Ahmedabad (India), Rhode Island School of Design (USA) and the Royal College of Art (UK).

London, United Kingdom: The Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta Design Lab has returned on a global scale to discover student-led, high-impact solutions to the climate crisis. 

His Majesty King Charles III, in his former role as the Prince of Wales, and Sir Jony Ive launched the Terra Carta Design Lab in 2021, in partnership with the Royal College of Art.   

This year’s Design Lab has expanded its search to partner with four design schools from across the world; Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (UAE), National Institute of Design Ahmedabad (India), Rhode Island School of Design (USA) and the Royal College of Art (UK). 

The Sustainable Markets Initiative is inviting students and recent alumni (graduated in the last five years) from the four prestigious schools to address the devastating damage being done to our planet and create breakthrough solutions for Nature, People and Planet, inspired by its guiding mandate - the Terra Carta

The challenge will harness the expertise of these prestigious global schools, with the power of the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s network of private sector supporters to bring to light innovative, scalable solutions and continue to highlight the urgent need to focus on the creative collaboration between art, science, design, and engineering. 

Sir Jony Ive, Chancellor of the Royal College of Art said:“Multidisciplinary collaboration has never been more important. It is incredibly rewarding to see an even broader group of students use deep creative collaboration to develop thoughtful ways of tackling the multifaceted challenges of the climate crisis. 

“I'm incredibly proud to be part of the Terra Carta Design Lab and the momentum it has built over the past two years. The mission of addressing the climate crisis is more relevant and urgent than ever, and I'm very excited to see the ideas these international design students will have developed by next Autumn.” 

Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, CEO, Sustainable Markets Initiative said: “Through the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Terra Carta Design Lab, we aim to inspire accelerated action on the world’s sustainability targets while illustrating a vision of what is possible. Cross-disciplinary engagement, creativity, and design provide a unique opportunity to co-create and discover new paths that can drive the sustainable transition we so urgently need.  

"Scaling the Terra Carta Design Lab globally allows us to expand our search to uncover ground-breaking sustainability solutions, created by the next generation of leaders.  We are delighted to be partnering with such prestigious design schools who each place sustainability at the core of their curriculum.”  

To celebrate the power of thinking differently and bringing together diverse, global minds, two projects from each school will be awarded funding and the opportunity to be mentored by Sir Jony Ive and the Sustainable Market Initiative’s vast network to help scale their ideas and bring them to market.  

All submissions will be judged by a panel of experts at each school, before they each present a top ten shortlist to the Global Judging Panel for final judging, spearheaded by Sir Jony Ive. The winning eight designs will be announced in Autumn 2024.  

Hani Asfour, Vice President of Innovation and Institutional Partnerships at Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) said: “Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders who will have to grapple most with the devastating impacts of climate change.   

“Involving youth in the solution is key to ensuring an integrated and sustainable strategy to protect the planet. DIDI’s multidisciplinary design curriculum, crafted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The New School’s Parsons School of Design, aims to nurture well-rounded designers, innovators and entrepreneurs who approach environmental challenges with creativity and care. We’re honoured to participate in the Terra Carta Design Lab because it will challenge our students to push their boundaries for creative problem solving and conceptualize solutions that accelerate a sustainable future.” 

Prof. Praveen Nahar, Director, NID Ahmedabad said: “I believe design has an important role to play in visualising alternative future narratives that provoke, question and seek collective action to realign socio-technical systems for transition to the future. While design education has been addressing issues at tactical and creative levels, however it is imperative for design students, educators and practitioners in the twenty-first century to explore design approaches which address some of these real-world challenges. The global Terra Carta Design Lab provides a dynamic space to drive collaborations between academia and industry and build future design leadership for facing these challenges collectively.” 

RISD President Crystal Williams said: “We are pleased to join The Sustainable Markets Initiative for its second Terra Carta Design Lab. Art and design are essential to realizing a sustainable future. This global effort is an incredible opportunity for RISD students and alumni to apply the question-based inquiry approach they learn at RISD. This is also an important opportunity to help elevate and include voices and people who have been historically underrepresented in conversations about sustainability and the climate crisis. Including a range of perspectives and experiences—particularly from those most immediately affected by these challenges—catalyzes new insights, new discoveries and new solutions that benefit us all. I look forward to seeing the results from the RISD community and our global counterparts.” 

Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor, Royal College of Art, said: "The RCA's incredibly talented community of students and alumni are constantly looking at how to interpret, innovate and improve the world around us. Our first Terra Carta Design Lab winners are no different, having raised millions, established major global partnerships and presented their ideas at last year's UN Climate Conference. It goes to show that design and creativity can change the world at the scale and pace required. We're thrilled to be working with the SMI again to take the Terra Carta Design Lab international and truly ramp up the impact it can have." 

Showing the real-world impact of the Terra Carta Design Lab, the inaugural four winning designs have raised £18m in funding, hired new employees and completed a range of pilot programmes to further develop their climate solutions.  

View the full press release

Learn more about the Terra Carta Design Lab