Advocate by Design Report

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is committed to advocating on behalf of the interior design profession at both the State and Federal level. 

RECENT NEWS

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is committed to advocating on behalf of the interior design profession at both the State and Federal levels. 

On average, our Government & Public Affairs Team is actively working in ten to twelve States on issues related to the profession. The primary job is to protect interior designers’ right to practice.

This report outlines recent initiatives, announcements, and accomplishments of the ASID Government & Public Affairs Department. If you would like more information on recent advocacy activity, please contact ASID Manager of Government & Public Affairs, Lauren Earley, at learley@asid.org.

 

April 2022

Styrofoam. It’s a Sticky Situation

Sonya Berle

As designers and consumers on planet earth, we receive a vast array of products delivered via a range of polystyrene products (AKA Dow Chemical name “Styrofoam”). While it’s best to avoid using these products, that is not always possible. Here is more information and tips about handling these furniture fillers, packing materials, etc.

The perfect, color-popping, and cozy bean bag chair, revitalized during the pandemic for children and work-space use, is filled with expanded polystyrene (EPS) balls designed to withstand seated and jumping impacts from children and maybe playful adults too. Our coffee breaks and takeout dining food options still serve food and beverages in these containers. However, this product takes 500 to 1 million years to break down, yet not fully decompose. The pieces pollute waterways and endanger aquatic life too. Styrene can leach into hot foods and beverages we consume as well. Plus, kiddos can ingest the packing material and chair beads. Respiratory and other health hazards are also present for laborers creating and handling the furniture fillers too.


Water, We all need it!

Susan Morgan, ASID, NCIDQ, CAPS, LEED AP, RID

Water conservation, efficiency and cleanliness are vital to the planet and our lives. We must do all we can to preserve it and not further pollute it. The International Codes Council has many tools and resources to help.


Biophilia for Interior Design

Leslie Gustafson, Allied ASID, WELL AP, Healthy Materials Advocate

Biophilic design Incorporates nature into the interior design of spaces contributing to the health and well-being of occupants. It creates an environment drawn from nature, evoking calm.

Neurological studies reveal that humans have an intrinsic affinity towards nature, and evidence of its emotional and psychological benefits is mounting. Research indicates that nature and nature derived patterns, can enhance our mood, happiness, and overall experience. By incorporating natural objects and shapes into interior spaces, designers have the capacity to profoundly impact environments and their inhabitants.


Discerning the Forests and the Trees. A Design SOS Alert

Bernadette Upton, FASID, RID, CAPS, LEED AP BD+C. GREEN

As interior designers we purchase wood for flooring, furniture, cabinetry, decorative walls, ceilings, lighting, and accessories, therefore, it is extremely important to know “where and how” the wood comes from for these interior elements.

It is often said that the Amazon Rainforest is the lungs of the planet. With that in mind, it is important to know that in the past 50 years, we have lost over 20% of this precious resource due to deforestation. The problem has gotten worse and currently we are losing 1.5 acres a second…truly frightening.

Deforestation contributes to 15% of all man-made CO2 in the atmosphere, the other 85% is from fossil fuels. The Amazon is not the only forest that is being illegally harvested, many other forests are being clear-cut and destroyed all over the world.

Huge swaths of natural forest left on the planet are being dismantled at an alarming pace to feed an illegal, global greed-hungry, wood‐processing industry centered in coastal China. At the current pace of cutting, natural forests in Indonesia and Myanmar, which send more than half their exported logs to China, will be exhausted within a decade, according to research by Forest Trends, a consortium of industry and conservation groups. Forests in Papua New Guinea will be consumed in as little as 13 years, and those in the Russian Far East within two decades.

These forests are our protective barrier against global warming, capturing carbon dioxide that would otherwise contribute to heating the planet. They hold some of the richest flora and fauna anywhere, and they have supplied generations of people with livelihoods that are now threatened. In the world's poorest countries, illegal logging on public lands annually costs governments $10 billion in lost assets and revenues.

In Russia as in most heavily forested countries, illegal logging is far from a clandestine activity. It is undertaken not by individuals but large companies, using modern machinery. And it happens in plain sight, under the disguise of “legitimate harvesting.” Russia's problem of illegal so called “sanitary logging,” also called “salvage logging,” is a common cover or better yet, a “ruse” for illegal deforestation in Russia. In a recent study, the World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute and U.S. Forest Service found that as much as 62% of U.S. wood products, mostly imports, were mislabeled. That is a lot of wood that is not what it claims to be.

A significant consumer of illegally harvested wood is in China where factories churn out a high volume of products such as furniture and floorboards. These are shipped to major retailers in the US and are bought by shoppers with no knowledge of the wood's origins.

If illegally sourced timber did not exist nor traded on the world market, the value of U.S. wood product exports would increase $460 million annually. According to analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, ending U.S. imports of illegal timber and replacing half of them with domestic production would create roughly 200,000 jobs.

Illegal logging and weak forest management contribute to deforestation. As interior designers it is tremendously important to be environmental stewards due to our influence in wood purchasing decisions. The Lacy Act is a 1900 United States law that bans trafficking in illegal wildlife and in 2008, the act was amended to include plants and plant products such as timber and paper. This landmark legislation is the world’s first ban on trade in illegally sourced wood products. Making purchasing decisions using products that are from certified forestry such as the Forest Stewardship Council, PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification), Sustainable Forestry Initiative and numerous others that hold legitimate certifications for legally harvested wood, is the answer to reduce and eliminate this serious on-growing problem.

Plantation grown wood is yet another source for wood, so is reclaimed and river recovered. The interior designer need not look far to see the abundant choices of legally harvested wood. It just takes a serious mindset and recognizing the important and tremendous role that the interior designers play.

To quote Alistair Fuad-Luke, “Designers actually have more potential to slow environmental degradation than economists, politicians, businesses and even environmentalists. The power of designers is catalytic.”


AxD Outreach & Engagement Advocacy Support Team Subcommittee

The Advocate by Design Council [AxD] is proud to announce the formation of the AxD Advocacy Support Team.

The Advocacy Support Team (AST) Advisors are national leaders who possess the ability to develop and motivate peer advocacy leaders into carrying out the strategic advocacy and legislative objectives of the Society as determined by the ASID National Board. The AST Advisors will be the first point of contact for chapter board leadership and newly rebranded Chapter Advocacy Chair as we strive to advance advocacy from the grass roots level to our national voice. The Chapter Advocacy Chair will become the primary point of contact for all ASID chapter advocacy activities at the local, state, and federal levels.

The tools of available to the AST advisors will be the ASID Government and Public Affairs Guidebook, ASID national advocacy / legislative policies, and guidelines, state by state advocacy / legislative policies and guidelines, and strategies to facilitate solutions for advocacy leadership while working with HQ Staff and the AxD Council.

The AST advisors’ goals will be to help chapters identify ASID Chapter Advocacy Chair and committee members, provide advocacy training materials for the advocacy chair, to establish and maintain an open line of communication between the Chapter Advocacy Chair, the AxD Council and ASID Director of GPA, and to provide feedback to the ASID AxD O&E Chair from the chapter level.

The Chapter Advocacy Chair(s) focus will help structure multiple Chapter Advocacy Chairs for chapters that include numerous states, one Chapter Advocacy Chairperson per state, may assist with Chapter Advocacy Chair (s) succession plan, may assist the chapters organizing an advocacy committee, advocacy training and ASID GPA Guidelines / Guidebook, review and assist with the advocacy plan prepared by the Chapter Advocacy Chair(s) for their Chapter board, assist with state wide advocacy updates, may assist with advocacy fundraising by ASID national and by chapters and the sharing of advocacy success and hurdles.

We are proud to announce the inaugural Advocate Support Team Advisors class of 2022.

Zone 1 – AST Susan Carson, Allied ASID

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Intermountain
  • Oregon
  • Washington State

Zone 2 – AST Susan Morgan, ASID, NCIDQ, LEED, AP, CAPS, RID

  • Connecticut
  • New England
  • New Jersey
  • New York Metro
  • New York Upstate / Canada East

Zone 3 - AST Joan Kaufman, FASID, MBA, MPH, LEED AP

  • Arizona North
  • Arizona South
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • South Central
  • Texas Gulf Coast
  • Texas

Zone 4 – AST Alexandra Kirby, Allied ASID

  • Alabama
  • Carolinas (North Carolina & South Carolina)
  • Florida North
  • Florida South
  • Florida West Coast
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee

Zone 5 – AST Emmy Williams, ASID, IIDA, RID

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota (includes North Dakota & South Dakota)
  • Missouri East
  • Missouri West / Kansas
  • Nebraska / Iowa
  • Wisconsin

Zone 6 – AST – Tabitha Evans, Allied ASID, Assoc. AIA

  • Hawaii
  • California Central / Nevada
  • California North
  • California Orange County
  • California Pasadena
  • California San Diego

Zone 7 - AST Janie Hirsch, ASID, RID

  • Ohio North
  • Ohio South / Kentucky
  • Pennsylvania East
  • Pennsylvania West
  • Washington Metro
  • Virginia

In addition to the AST Advisors for Zones 1-7, we have three specialized AST Advisors who will provide additional advocacy support.

The AST Industry Partner Advisor is a position served by an ASID Industry Partner to provide advisement in working with industry through the AST Advisers, and the AxD Outreach & Engagement chair to the formalities of potential IP involvement, interaction, product contributions and/or financial support of advocacy and legislation at the chapter level. This is a partner position to the AST Advisors and typically does not directly interface with the chapters unless approved by HQ Staff and the AxD Council.

AST for Industry Partners - AST Brian Gallop, ASID Industry Partner

The AST Student Chapters Advisor is a position served by an ASID member with experience working with ASID Student Chapters to provide advisement to student chapters in conjunction with their chapter CAC, the AST Advisors, HQ Staff, and the AxD Council to the formalities of potential student involvement and interaction in support of advocacy and legislation at the chapter level.

AST for Student Chapters - AST Chelsey Beardsley, ASID Student Member

The AST Secretary is responsible for updates and maintenance of the ASID Government and Public Affairs Guidebook as it pertains to best practices, national advocacy / legislative policies, and guidelines, state by state advocacy / legislative policies and guideline, their interpretation, dissemination, and act to facilitate solutions for advocacy leadership, working with the AST Advisors, HQ Staff, and the AxD Council. This is a partner position to the AST Advisors and typically does not directly interface with the chapters unless approved by HQ Staff and the AxD Council.

AST Secretary - AST Cynthia Burnett, MA, ASID, CID

We are very excited to launch this new ASID AST program. The AST program map mirrors the very successful ASID CST program and will act as a training force and assistance network for ASID chapters as they build a strong advocacy foundation. We believe that the AST Advisors will create a pathway to revolutionize the way ASID chapters build and engage in advocacy, creating a formidable grassroots program to achieve any and every ASID government affairs goal at the state and federal level. Everyone associated with the creation of this program hopes its success will benefit ASID for many years to come.