Winner of BSI’s sustainability awards weaves his way to success


27 June 2006 

A project which supports ecologically and socially sustainable textile production in India to produce luxury goods for a Western market has today won the BSI Sustainability Design Awards 2006.

Jonathan Michaud, a student graduating in Constructed Textiles from the Royal College of Art (RCA) this month, is being presented with the top prize at the RCA’s Innovation Night. 

What sets Michaud’s project apart from others is that he is using design to open up new markets for the weavers who produce hand-woven textiles and bamboo blinds.  Using high quality vibrant yarns and contemporary design, the weavers produce textiles that are highly desirable to the more affluent European and American markets.  Say’s Michaud: “The high-end market has been chosen as a way to counter-act the idea that ecological implies poor design quality”. 

Moreover, Michaud believes that good design is incomplete without considering the impact of the manufacturing process on the environment and the community.  His project supports local communities to produce textiles from sustainable sources, using traditional methods and the resources around them.  Weavers are paid a fair wage upfront and enabled to stay in their home communities – a far cry from the multi-nationals using imported raw materials who employ low skilled displaced workers on poor wages. 

“I’m bringing together two groups – those who primarily desire ecological products and are unsatisfied with their current options and those who are interested in luxury goods for whom sustainability is an added bonus. The profit from the sale of these textiles is used to employ more workers as well as developing their skills” says Michaud.

Runners-up for the 2006 Awards are Susannah Clarke for her Kyoto Kitchen “smart hob” invention which reduces energy consumption by 33 per cent; and Caroline Till for her “Creative Intervention” project which rejuvenates unwanted ceramics, textiles and furniture into objects of desire.

Jonathan Michaud is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts in New England, USA and is a final year student at the Royal College of Arts (RCA), London, studying Constructed Textiles. He is working in India with the “Women Weave” project in Maheshwar and the “Kashmir Loom” project in Delhi.
To interview Jonathan Michaud please contact Wilma Tulloch / Marc Edney, BSI Group Press Office on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 (24 hours).

About the BSI Sustainability Design Awards
The BSI Sustainability Design Awards support design projects that promote awareness of sustainability issues or provide sustainable solutions.  Now in their 13th year, the Awards are open to all students studying at the Royal College of Art.

The Awards help students find out more about their chosen subjects while learning about the relevance of sustainability issues to design.  Prize money is used to help research and realise projects. 

Past winners include: Peter Brewin for his high performance water-saving shower – The El Nino – which uses 70 per cent less water and 40 per cent less energy than a conventional shower; and Will Crawford and Peter Brewin for “The Concrete Canvas” – a rapidly deployable hardened shelter for use by aid agencies in disaster regions.  This ‘building in a bag’ won the $100,000 first prize in the Saatchi & Saatchi 2005 Award for World Changing Ideas.

About The Royal College of Art
The Royal College of Art is the world’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design, specialising in teaching and research and offering the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD across the disciplines of fine art, applied art, design, communications and humanities. There are over 850 masters and doctoral students and more than a hundred professionals interacting with them – including scholars, leading art and design practitioners, along with specialists, advisors and distinguished visitors. Visit the RCA website for more information:

Innovation Night 2006, Tuesday 27 June 2006, at Royal College of Art gives business and research partners the opportunity to meet the innovators of the future.  On show will be the work of graduating RCA students from the Schools of Architecture and Design, Communications, Fashion and Textiles, and Humanities.  In addition there are four prestigious award events to attend and a review of the second year of InnovationRCA. At the heart of the evening there is a rare chance to hear RCA alumnus James Dyson talk about the business of innovation.  Visit the InnovationRCA website for more information:

About BSI
Having pioneered the environmental management system ISO 14001, BSI Group has increasingly developed a leading role in the environment and sustainability fields.  BSI undertakes work in environmental data verification including Greenhouse Gas Emissions, waste and discharges as well as offering assessments of Social Accountability management systems which assure working conditions in the supply chain.

BSI has just published (23 June 2006) the new standard BS 8900 Guidance for managing sustainable development which will assist organisations in developing an enduring balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress. The standard will enable organisations to develop an approach to sustainable development that will continue to evolve and adapt to meet new challenges and demands. 

BSI is also bringing on-stream Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability training and verification of corporate reporting on CSR and sustainability.

The BSI Sustainability Design Awards take the form of bursaries to support students in researching their projects further.  To date, BSI Group has granted nearly £100,000 in scholarships and awards to Royal College of Arts students.