Some of the world’s leading designers, experts and activists come together next week in Amsterdam to try to solve the planet’s urgent climate change crisis through design.


Just last week, the UN gave world leaders just 10 years to curb climate-harming emissions. The latest research suggests that global temperatures are rising at an unprecedented pace, and that concerted action is required to avert the worst impacts of rising sea levels, threats to species and extreme weather events.


These are the contributing factors as to why, this year, What Design Can Do is entirely devoted to climate change. This, and the fact that the creative industry will not wait for governments to change policies, but rather, would like to take matters into their own hands and work out together how design can be best used to create tangible solutions.


To this point, prominent speakers and experts from all design disciplines, including architects, journalists, product designers and influcencers, will be exploring the role that design can play in solving some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Speakers include Canadian designer Bruce Mau, IKEA head designer Marcus Engman and former mayor of Mexico City Marcelo Ebrard.


Former director of London’s Design Museum Alice Rawsthorn and celebrated British designer Harry Pearce will also feature at the event. Visitors to the conference will not only be able to hear from speakers from a broad range of disciplines – but will also be able to take part in a range of challenging workshops and Q&As, plus have the chance to interact with and learn directly from the experts. These insights from global thought leaders will influence the life and business choices of the attendees.


Richard van der Laken, co-founder and creative director of WDCD: 

‘Climate change is a huge and extremely important subject that needs to be addressed by the creative community. Such a subject runs the risk of sinking under its own weight, but the creative profession will make sure that doesn’t happen at WDCD. Designers are born optimists, and we’ll approach this subject with a positive attitude. Instead of resigning ourselves to the situation, we will embrace the challenge with all the creative energy and inventiveness we can generate.’

WDCD Live Amsterdam takes place this year on 23 and 24 May at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam.


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WDCD Climate Action Challenge

The conference will also see the launch of the WDCD Climate Action Challenge.

Following the success of last year’s WDCD design challenge dealing with the refugee crisis - which saw 631 entries from 70 countries - this year, the challenge calls for innovative design ideas that really can tackle climate change.

Participants have until 21 July 2017 to submit their ideas and designs in three categories: student, professional and start-up. The winners will be announced in October 2017 during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven