I’m not greenwashing, virtue signalling, jumping on the eco bandwagon or flipped from a corporate designer into a purpose-driven designer. I’ve been an environmental campaigner, activist and ethical designer since 1996.


Ethical design

In 1996 I graduated in Graphic Design. My redesign of the Friends of the Earth ‘Roads to Ruin’ campaign materials was chosen to be exhibited at the prestigious New Designers degree show. And I took part in the Newbury road protest. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to use the power of branding and design to help create positive change.

After graduating I honed my skills as a graphic designer at the Centre for Alternative Technology, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Gaia Books and a design agency for high-profile arts organisations. In 2003, I established Advocate as one of the first ethical design agencies. Specialising in empowering environmental organisations, ethical businesses, good causes and those challenging the system that is destroying our world. This is an unparalleled level of experience, expertise and dedication to making a difference.


Activism

For 20 odd years I was an environmental campaigner and activist. Campaigning and taking peaceful direct action on all the main environmental issues.


Ethical design


Positive impact

I believe an agency can only call itself an ethical design agency if it meets two criteria:

  1. Running their design business ethically
  2. Only working for organisations trying to make a positive difference

The direct environmental impact of running a design business is relatively modest. For example, I don’t require much more than a computer and internet access. It’s the second criteria that is considerably more important. The (in)direct impact of a designer’s work can be huge. For instance, assisting a renewable energy company in doubling its customers, as I have done, makes a tremendous difference.

Like all businesses, running my business creates an environmental footprint, which I am committed to reducing, as outlined below. But by choosing to only work with organisations making a positive social and environmental difference, and by helping amplify their impact, I have a positive impact on people and the planet.


Energy

The electricity I use comes from 100% renewable sources.


Website

My website is hosted on servers powered by renewable energy. I have taken care to design the site to minimise its carbon footprint. For example, this page is in the top 1% of web pages tested on the Website Carbon Calculator.


Cloud hosting

A high percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions come from servers running cloud storage. Unlike many businesses I don’t store files on the cloud, so I entirely avoid this problem.


Office equipment

My computers and phones tend to last me a long time. I only buy new kit when absolutely necessary.


Recycling

I recycle old computers, ink cartridges, glass, plastic, metal, paper and card.


Travel

I use the phone, email and video calls to reduce the need to travel. When I need to travel, I try to use public transport and I’m conveniently based just five minutes’ walk from a mainline train station, with direct access to London.


Commuting

I work from my home office, so there is no commute.


Offsetting

I choose not to offset my carbon emissions. Offsetting is controversial. It’s not clear that it works or that it isn’t just greenwash.


B Corp

I’ve chosen not to become B Corp certified. I don’t think I need it and I’d have to pass on the cost to my clients. Additionally, the certification’s failure to consider the clientele of certified organisations raises concerns, particularly when some B Corp certified agencies collaborate with environmentally harmful industries. It seems the scheme is being used by some agencies to greenwash their business.


Your responsibility

If you’re committed to creating a sustainable and just future, you should be working with others who share your vision – get in contact.

Portfolio

Advocate
Ethical design agency
Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK

Contact
mark@advocatedesign.co.uk
07986 271797

Advocate ethical design agency

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This website has been built with sustainable web design principles. This page is cleaner than 99% of pages tested on Website Carbon Calculator (20.5.23)