Sustainable Voices: Sandro Kvernmo

January 11, 2019


Welcome to our Sustainable Voices series, where we talk to inspirational climate leaders around the world about their passions and projects.

Who, What, Where?

Sandro Kvernmo, Co-founder and Creative Director of Goods in Oslo, a studio that designs consumer brands and packaging for people and planet.

What was your a-ha moment that made you become engaged in sustainability?

I have always been interested in sustainability, but for a long time I felt that it was a subject best to leave to the “experts”. Of course, I couldn’t have been more wrong. When the UN released their report that stated we had 12 years to limit devastating effects to our planet (in 2018) and thousands of Norwegian kids went on strike to support Greta Thunberg’s efforts, it was truly an eye-opener for someone who had done traditional graphic design for 15 years. A few months after, Goods was founded with the mission to balance ethics and aesthetics in consumer branding. We believe you simply cannot do packaging design today without deep knowledge of what materials you put into the world, and how their lifecycle in a circular world looks.

What do you think will be the legacy of your generation?

I think the millennials’ legacy will be that we were the start of a more enlightened and truly globalized world.

What is your single best tip for someone who wants to do more for the environment on a personal level?

New York Times has a great guide on how to reduce your carbon footprint. In short: travel less (with fossils) and cutting down on meat is clearly the two best ways individuals can do this practically. Or do like me, find a way you can combine your profession with caring for the environment.

What is your company’s most impactful contribution to fight climate change?

I don’t think it is the results of the packages and brands we design, but the knowledge accumulated and shared with a larger audience which in turn could inspire others to take the same fact-based choices we do. Having and gaining knowledge is well and good, but sustainability isn’t something you solve by keeping good solutions to yourself. The day we founded Goods, we also started working on an open-source resource that shares our learnings with the design industry. We look forward to launching it this spring!

What is the most critical technological breakthrough that needs to happen for the world to reach the 1,5 degree goal?

Hard to pinpoint one in particular, but it will have to come within energy and transport as they account for a huge chunk of all carbon emissions on our planet.

What will this breakthrough demand from us as a society?

A collaborative, political, social, and economical effort.

In your industry, what do you think will be the most groundbreaking change over the next 10 years?

The biggest challenge in packaging design these days is definitively removing plastics as much as possible. I think we’ll see a breakthrough in the next few years that enables us to pack foods and liquids safely without traditional plastic barriers, hopefully of customer recycled materials, not virgin materials.

Which brand (in general) do you think is at the forefront when it comes to sustainability?

Organic Basics are in a challenging industry but communicate well around the choices they make, and gives great summaries of their work each year in their Impact Reports.

What makes you climate positive about the future?

Our youth.

Check out the New York Times guide on how to reduce your personal carbon footprint here.

Learn more about Goods.