About Sustainability

The GDC National Sustainability Committee is dedicated to educating members about sustainable communication design.

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What is Sustainable Communication Design?

The following definition was developed by the GDC's National Sustainability Committee in 2007:

Sustainable communication design is the application of sustainability principles to communication design practice. Practitioners consider the full life cycle of products and services, and commit to strategies, processes and materials that value environmental, cultural, social and economic responsibility.

Sustainability Values and Principles

This statement of values and principles is provided to guide the GDC and its members’ actions.

1. Encourage the evolution of the GDC and the graphic design practice by:

  • acknowledging that we are part of an interdependent world;
  • accepting responsibility for the consequences our actions have on our natural environment;
  • developing and building sustainable strategies and practices;
  • participating with the international design community in developing global best practices
  • working to create products and services that are re-usable and/or provide long term value; and
  • by purchasing recycled, local and non-toxic materials wherever possible.

2. Demonstrate our commitment to improve the natural environment by:

  • sharing these principles through our Icograda network;
  • collaborating with other design organizations worldwide to promote and develop best practices for sustainable communications design;
  • integrating environmental criteria into all design processes and organizational decision making;
  • employing accountable and transparent processes and procedures;
  • reviewing our environmental impacts regularly and continually working to reduce them;
  • adopting practices that use materials in continuous cycles;
  • seeking suppliers who use sustainable practices;
  • acting as community and industry advocates for environmentally responsible design practices; and
  • by developing and providing products and services that improve the quality of life of all beings and support the health and well-being of the planet.

3. Raise and foster awareness of sustainable communication design practice by:

  • promoting the intrinsic and greater value of sustainable communication design;
  • encouraging clients to integrate sustainable principles into their communication projects;
  • providing education and information resources to our members and the community at large to inform environmentally responsible design decisions; and
  • by championing sustainable communication solutions for our communities.

Valerie Elliott CGD, Chair of the GDC’s National Sustainability Committee is proud of the work done by the committee to date. "The GDC is helping drive change in our communities," says Elliott.

“The work being undertaken in sustainability by the GDC is vital to our clients and the planet” adds GDC President Adrian Jean CGD. “The policies we build today will have lasting benefits and demonstrate that embracing sustainability can encourage innovation.” 

About the National Sustainability Committee (NSC) 

The NSC was founded in 2006. Our first work focused on creating a definition for sustainable communication design—believed to be the first formal definition to exist worldwide. In 2009, the GDC adopted Sustainability Values and Principles, giving us a strong foundation from which to build. 

We continue to work to bring you tools and resources. If you are interested in sustainable communication design, please consider joining our dedicated team. Contact us with your questions <sustainability@gdc.net>

NSC Vision & Mission

(revised March 2012)

In 2012, the National Sustainability Committee refined its vision and mission placing greater emphasis on our key goals and objectives. Let us know what we can do for you.

Purpose: connect our national design community to our core values of sustainability

Our mission is to: encourage, educate and enable the GDC community, our clients and our partners to embrace and implement the many dimensions of sustainability into their design practices.

We accomplish this by: fostering awareness of environmental, social, cultural and economic responsibility; providing principles, guidelines, standards, resources and recommendations accessible to support and encourage sustainability; developing educational materials to inform members, client, sponsors and the community at large of best practices in sustainable communications design; acting as advocates in the community and industry for sustainable design practices; and increasing the committee’s visibility.