3 questions to Anthony Boule, Co-founder of MU, eco-design consultancy
- At the crossroads of design, engineering and the environment, you created the Mu agency with François-Xavier Ferrari in 2010. Education, eco-improvement of an existing product or the development of new eco-products: Since then Mu has supported dozens of businesses in their creation process as well as the implementation of environmental strategies (Sephora, Dior, Hennessy…). In nearly ten years, how have things changed in the field of eco-creation?
The first thing is that we don’t have to convince people anymore of the importance of acting when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of their business: brands and fashion houses are for the most part already very much aware. Now, our work is more aimed at the need to expand their area of concern. For example, historically packaging has always been a hot topic with regards to eco-design. But there can be no eco-design without a global approach, a systematic approach: everything must be taken into consideration, the packaging, the product, the modes of distribution, the usage phase, etc.
- A huge playing field for brands: What are they focused on, more specifically?
It varies. When it comes to start-ups and young brands we are often asked to provide complete support for product development. Bigger accounts, for their part, more often ask us to improve existing products and also to train their teams: this is the case for example with Louis Vuitton. And it’s true: many luxury brands have an established environmental strategy but they still need to implement it: they need to train their teams in a practical sense, taking into account all areas of their business.
- After the increase of awareness you mentioned earlier, is it now a question of finding the next step to take?
Absolutely. We are getting there step by step. For the big businesses, the eco-design process is more often a process of continuous improvement. One step after the other. But to take these steps, the operational side needs to catch up. And equally mentalities have to catch up, especially in the luxury sector: shake off the resistance to change, (re)pose the question of what luxury really means today, stop self-censoring, etc.