On 31 January 2023, EPA Deputy Minister Chih-Hsiu Shen and Director of the Trade Council of Denmark in Taiwan Bo Mønsted together kicked off the Taiwan and Denmark Environmental Education Partnership and the Index Award Exhibition in Taipei. The event also included an exhibition from 31 January and 5 February. On display were recently awarded works of the Index Award, considered the Nobel Prize in the global design community, as well as all the winning works in Taiwan’s Caring for the Environment Design Competition over the year
Among the attending guests were Lesley Price and Charlotte Høeg Andersen, the Index Project’s Communication Director and Education Director, and Charles Huang, Chairman of the Circular Taiwan Network.
In his opening speech, Deputy Minister Shen mentioned President Tsai Ing-wen’s Earth Day (22 April) pledge to promote transition to net-zero emissions. In correspondence with the pledge, the National Development Council (NDC) and various agencies have formulated transition strategies in energy, industry, life, and society. Not only so, the EPA-proposed a draft revision to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act (溫室氣體減量及管理法), which was passed at the Legislative Yuan on 10 January 2023 after three readings, and is now formally renamed the Climate Change Response Act (氣候變遷因應法). The Act includes goals pertaining to net-zero emission by 2050, allowing such a grand mission to become an official law and thus be regulated with clarity. He noted that the event held is to emulate Denmark’s approach of combining environmental education with design, innovation, and commercialization in response to global climate change and other sustainability issues.
Next, Director Mønsted talked about Denmark’s efforts and long history in sustainable development and that in fact it established the world’s first government ministry specifically for the environment in 1971. However, environmental protection and slowing down climate change is a global challenge. Facing this task, the Index Project was founded as an NGO in Denmark that aims to improve human life via design and innovation and achieve environmental sustainability by developing sustainability initiatives with design as a tool. For years the NGO has hosted the Index Award, an honor seen as the Nobel Prize of the design circle, and awardees and those nominated have included well-known corporations like Tesla or Lego as well as many newly-founded teams. And applications of their ideas has also become impactful solutions for environmental sustainability, such as Lifestraw, invisible airbag helmet for bicycle, $25 raspberry pi, marine vacuums, and natural microorganism dyes. It is hoped that the Taiwan-Denmark Partnership on environmental education can integrate resources and innovations from different nations and fields, together contributing to a future of net-zero emission.
For this year’s event, the Index Award brought a total of 15 works from Denmark, including those that received the award as well as nominated pieces in 2021, all of which center around pressing issues like circular economy and net-zero emission. The most notable piece showcased is Pinatex, a material made by a company that manufactures sustainable materials with fibers of pineapple leaves and therefore presenting great potential for Taiwan’s industries. Not only is this new material able to replace current textile and leather products, but it can generate new viable business opportunities for pineapple-producing nations like Taiwan, enabling farmers to build a strong circular economy.
More detailed information about the exhibition is available on the event website: https://www.epadesign.tw/
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)