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Climate-Adaptive Design: Impacts of Extreme Weather on Design, Strategy & Consumer Behaviour

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Extreme weather can profoundly impact business strategy and consumer behaviour, making it vital for businesses to understand the impact of climate change on their business operations. This can mean amending product offerings and infrastructure to meet the ever-changing needs of the environment, as we plan for 2024 and beyond.

Our latest research explores how designers and brands are responding to the climate crisis in innovative ways, from changing seasons and new materials to more conscious sourcing and travel practices.

Forest fires, extreme summer heat and devastating floods across the globe are all making preparations for extreme weather ever more urgent. The impacts of climate change are affecting traditional areas for agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. While vineyards in France, Spain and Portugal are threatened by drought, the warming climate of northern nations like Scotland, Norway and Sweden is creating thriving winemaking regions.

This subsequently leads to travellers re-evaluating their summer plans as extreme heat and government health warnings become a growing concern. Cooler regions become more attractive to tourists who seek more comfortable temperatures, and summer holidays shift to the shoulder seasons when sunny locations in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South-east Asia may be more comfortable.

New materials are also being engineered to suit changing conditions. Suppliers prioritise cooling, absorbent and reflective properties through strategic design that doesn't compromise environmental impact. Melbourne-based fashion label McIntyre has crafted a collection made with Australian merino wool. The summer range boosts the potential of summer woollens, absorbing twice as much water vapour as cotton. The wool is 100% biodegradable and microplastic-free, benefiting the wearer and the planet.

Meanwhile, community-based design creates public infrastructure that provides both shelter and practical solutions to sustainability. For example, the Arch of Time (Arco del Tiempo) is a high-tech, sun-powered artwork planned to be built in Texas. Based on the concept of a sundial, the infrastructure shelters people from the heat while generating power from the sun. The space will host events and music performances, providing a clean-energy cultural hub.

To learn more about the impacts of extreme weather on design, strategy and consumer behaviour, click here to explore our Macro Trendbook (Book Two & Subscription) and request a demo from our team.


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