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The 2022 Terra Carta Design Lab winners (ZELP, The Tyre Collective, Amphico, Aerseeds) Credit: Kasia Bobula / RCA

Key details


  • 28 September 2023


  • RCA

Read time

  • 6 minutes

The Sustainable Markets Initiative is inviting students and recent alumni (who have graduated in the last five years) from the RCA and three other prestigious international design schools to address the devastating damage being done to our planet and create breakthrough solutions for Nature, People and Planet, inspired by its guiding mandate - the Terra Carta.

His Majesty King Charles III, in his former role as HRH The Prince of Wales, and Sir Jony Ive launched the Terra Carta Design Lab in 2021, in partnership with the Royal College of Art. This year’s Design Lab has expanded its reach to also partner with Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (UAE), National Institute of Design Ahmedabad (India) and Rhode Island School of Design (USA).

The four winners of the 2022 Terra Carta Design Lab - Aerseeds, Amphico, The Tyre Collective and ZELP - have already raised £18 million in investments and grants to date and have been supported by the RCA’s centre for entrepreneurship and incubation, InnovationRCA. In addition, projects from the 20-strong shortlist have gone on to make impact: most notably Notpla, packaging made from seaweed, winning the prestigious £1m Earthshot Prize in December 2022. In addition, Resting Reef has developed its eco-memorial service design to the point where it is now crowdfunding for a pilot reef, and Shellworks, one of two highly-commended projects, is creating naturally biodegradable packaging for major beauty brand Haeckels.

Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art, said: "I'm delighted to announce that the RCA is once again participating in the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta Design Lab, established in 2021 by His Majesty King Charles III, in his former role as HRH The Prince of Wales. In 2022 the jury, which included the RCA's Chancellor Sir Jony Ive, selected a number of start-up ventures that have gone on to secure millions of pounds of seed funding and will help tackle greenhouse gas emissions, airborne microplastic pollution, textiles in landfill, and deforestation. I've no doubt that in this second iteration of the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Design Lab, our students and recent alumni will present equally compelling and imaginative design solutions and become successful start-up entrepreneurs."

The Terra Carta Design Lab will harness the expertise of the RCA and the other three schools, with the power of the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s network of private sector supporters to bring to light innovative, scalable solutions, highlighting the urgent need to focus on the creative collaboration between art, science, design, and engineering.

Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, CEO, Sustainable Markets Initiative said: “Through the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Terra Carta Design Lab, we aim to inspire accelerated action on the world’s sustainability targets while illustrating a vision of what is possible. Cross-disciplinary engagement, creativity, and design provide a unique opportunity to co-create and discover new paths that can drive the sustainable transition we so urgently need. Scaling the Terra Carta Design Lab globally allows us to expand our search to uncover ground-breaking sustainability solutions, created by the next generation of leaders. We are delighted to be partnering with such prestigious design schools who each place sustainability at the core of their curriculum.”

To celebrate the power of thinking differently and bringing together diverse, global minds, two projects from the RCA and each of the other schools will be awarded funding and the opportunity to be mentored by Sir Jony Ive and the Sustainable Market Initiative’s vast network to help scale their ideas and bring them to market.

Sir Jony Ive, Chancellor of the Royal College of Art said: “Multidisciplinary collaboration has never been more important. It is incredibly rewarding to see an even broader group of students use deep creative collaboration to develop thoughtful ways of tackling the multifaceted challenges of the climate crisis.

“I'm incredibly proud to be part of the Terra Carta Design Lab and the momentum it has built over the past two years. The mission of addressing the climate crisis is more relevant and urgent than ever, and I'm very excited to see the ideas these international design students will have developed by next Autumn.”

All submissions will be judged by a panel of experts at each school, before they each present a top ten shortlist to the Global Judging Panel for final judging, spearheaded by Sir Jony Ive. The winning eight designs will be announced in Autumn 2024.

The RCA has a highly successful record of developing projects from ideas into reality, with students and alumni creating solutions with the potential to transform how we live. InnovationRCA, the university's centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 80 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 800 UK jobs.

About the Sustainable Markets Initiative

In his former role as The Prince of Wales, His Majesty King Charles III launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative at Davos in January 2020. The Sustainable Markets Initiative is a network of global CEOs across industries working together to build prosperous and sustainable economies that generate long-term value through the balanced integration of natural, social, human, and financial capital. These global CEOs see themselves as the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ helping to lead their industries onto a more ambitious, accelerated, and sustainable trajectory. Read more: www.sustainable-markets.org

About the Terra Carta

In his former role as The Prince of Wales, His Majesty King Charles III, launched the Terra Carta at the One Planet Summit in January 2021.  The Terra Carta serves as the mandate for the Sustainable Markets Initiative and provides a practical roadmap for acceleration towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of Nature combined with the transformative power, innovation, and resources of the private sector. Currently the Sustainable Markets Initiative has more than 500 CEO level supporters of the Terra Carta in addition to the 56 members of the Commonwealth, C40 Cities and the United Kingdom’s 13 Core Cities. The Terra Carta has served as the inspiration for the Terra Carta Design Lab. The Terra Carta is a roadmap for public, private, and philanthropic collaboration and open to all countries, cities, companies, organisations, and schools who wish to support it. Read more: www.sustainable-markets.org/terra-carta

About Jony Ive & LoveFrom

Sir Jony Ive KBE is a designer.  He joined Apple in 1992. As chief design officer, Jony was responsible for all hardware, user interface and packaging design, as well as the major architectural projects Apple Park and Apple retail stores. He led the design team for more than two decades, creating the iMac, PowerBook, MacBook, iBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, AppleWatch, AirPods and HomePod. Co-founder Steve Jobs referred to Jony as his creative partner.

He holds more than 14,000 patents worldwide, uniquely spanning both software and hardware design. Jony currently serves as chancellor of the Royal College of Art, is frequently voted one of Britain’s most culturally influential figures.

In 2019, Jony gathered the creative collective LoveFrom, which includes designers, architects, musicians, filmmakers, writers, engineers and artists. The combined experience, achievement and recognition of these creatives is without precedent.

The collective has been working quietly together since 2019, announcing multi-year collaborations with Airbnb and Ferrari. It has studios in San Francisco and London. lovefrom.com

About Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation

Established in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The New School’s Parsons School of Design, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) is a private non-profit university, located at Dubai Design District (d3) and accredited by the UAE Ministry of Education.

With its first intake in 2018, DIDI focuses on nurturing the Middle East’s next generation of designers. Its curriculum is designed to empower students to map out their own four-year educational journey, culminating in the region’s first integrated Bachelor of Design degree with a choice of concentrations in the areas of Product Design, Multimedia Design, Fashion Design and Strategic Design Management.

About National Institute of Design Ahmedabad

Established in 1961, National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad is internationally acclaimed as one of the finest educational and research institutions for Industrial, Communication, Textile and IT Integrated (Experiential) Design. It is a statutory institute under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. It has been recognised as an 'Institution of National Importance' by the Act of Parliament, by virtue of the National Institute of Design Act. It is also recognised by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

The mandate for NID is to offer world-class design education and to promote design awareness and application towards raising the quality of life by and through Education to create design professionals of excellence to help meet India's diverse design needs.

Education is imparted through studios and labs, where constant hands-on learning and experimentation happens in an interactive teaching-learning environment. The institute always prepares its students for a future in flux with uncertainty and ambiguity as its key characteristics. NID Ahmedabad is globally renowned for achieving benchmarks in terms of creativity-centric educational pedagogy, design thinking and design-infused leadership in various sectors of Indian society.

About Rhode Island School of Design

RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) is a creative community founded in 1877 in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, we enroll 2,567 students hailing from 60 countries. Led by a committed faculty, they are engaged in 44 full-time bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and supported by a worldwide network of over 31,000 alumni who demonstrate the vital role artists and designers play in today’s society.

Beyond facts and figures, what is the spirit of this community? Through a cross-disciplinary curriculum of studio-based learning and rigorous study in the liberal arts, RISD students are encouraged to develop their own personal creative processes, but they are united by one guiding principle: in order to create, one must question. In cultivating expansive and elastic thinking, RISD seeks to activate a critical exchange that empowers artists, designers and scholars to generate and challenge the ideas that shape our world. RISD’s mission, at both the college and museum, is not only to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, but to transmit that knowledge and make global contributions.