Cumulus GREEN 2020 is an international student competition open to all art, design and media disciplines. Cumulus GREEN 2020: For A New Circular Economy calls for projects that focus on SDG 12 for responsible consumption and production.

The competition recognizes that we have an unprecedented global resource challenge that necessitates the creative contributions of the design community to build a circular economy and meet the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The competition is administered by the Cumulus Secretariat with oversight by the Cumulus Board.

Cumulus GREEN 2020 counts with an international jury from academia and practice with experts in design, cultural diplomacy, sustainability and the circular economy. An online exhibition in 2020 and a postponed award ceremony in conjunction with the Cumulus Conference Roma 2020: DesignCulture(s) at Sapienza University of Rome, June 2021, will celebrate the student winners of the competition.

Meet the winners and honorable mentions of Cumulus Green 2020

Congratulations to all participating Cumulus Institutions!

Cumulus GREEN & The Kyoto Design Declaration

The Kyoto Design Declaration is a shared statement of commitment to building sustainable, human-centered and creative societies ratified by all Cumulus members in 2008. Cumulus GREEN was conceived as a student design competition first launched in 2009 that promotes the vision of the Kyoto Design Declaration.

Cumulus GREEN 2020 builds on the enduring legacy of the Kyoto Design Declaration and continues to embody the spirit of global citizenship of Cumulus members. The competition highlights the talent, creativity and diversity of all Cumulus students.


Cumulus GREEN 2020: A Unique Invitation to Take Action

Dear Cumulus Community,

How might we address the interdependent challenges presented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Ensuring responsible consumption and production patterns, SDG 12, is the focus of one of the 17 goals adopted by the United Nations Sustainable Agenda. The topic of SDG 12 is also closely linked to the concept of a circular economy. A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design.

With Cumulus GREEN 2020: For a New Circular Economy, we are mobilizing our students to propose innovative solutions that capture what intentional change by design can do when it comes to building a circular economy and a transformative vision for a better world. Along with our Cumulus Executive Board and Secretariat, I look forward to shining the spotlight on the talent, diversity and creativity of our students through this international competition that builds on the mission for global partnership and social values of our network.

Thank you for your participation and support!

Mariana Amatullo, PhD
President, Cumulus
Vice Provost for Global Strategic Initiatives, The New School

Why SDG #12 and the Circular Economy?

Global progress towards achieving SDG 12 for responsible consumption and production by 2030 will require a radical rethink that embraces circular economy principles.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is a systematic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. It is a new way to design, make and use things within planetary boundaries.

The transition to a circular economy represents one of the biggest creative challenges of our time. The way our society produces and consumes goods today must be fundamentally changed. We have a great imperative to re-imagine the design of products, services and systems that contribute less waste and can add value to our planet’s ecosystem.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation Endorses the Cumulus GREEN 2020 Competition Challenge

“Many of today’s intertwined economic, social, and environmental challenges can be traced back to the current take, make, waste economy that’s reaching its limits. Now more than ever, there’s an opportunity for designers to use their expertise to shift the narrative, imagining and shaping a positive future, by offering better solutions today.

Designers play a role like no other in the transition to a circular economy. Design gives us the chance to treat the causes of our dysfunctional take, make, waste system, rather than just cleaning up the symptoms.


Some of this will be unfamiliar. After all, we’ve had over 200 years to fine tune the ‘linear’ way of doing things. Designers need the space to apply the principles of circular design, and practice these new mindsets and techniques. It’s through cycles of feedback and iteration that innovators will invent sophisticated, impactful, and scalable circular economy solutions, and that’s why challenges like Cumulus GREEN are so important.

We look forward to new designs becoming reality, helping to shift our economy from linear to circular.”

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation team

Design Sits Prominently at the Heart of the Circular Economy

Check out this terrific set of resources from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation!

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Cumulus GREEN 2020 is aligned with the implementation agenda of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The 17 SDGs are broad based and interdependent goals to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs redefine how the global community can work together to tackle poverty and improve living standards, while protecting the environment.

Cumulus Association

Cumulus is the only global association to serve art and design education and research. It is a forum for partnership and transfer of knowledge and best practices.

Since its founding in 1990, Cumulus has been a pioneer in advocating for the vital role artists and designers play in shaping better and more humane futures for all. A champion of internationalization in higher education for the art, design and media disciplines, Cumulus is an active network that celebrates the power of creativity, social commitment and engagement with the world. 

Cumulus members demonstrate the importance of collaboration and global learning in a world where ideas and communities intersect and cross borders. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our association throughout 2020, Cumulus GREEN invites our students to imagine sustainable futures with renewed creativity, confidence and hope.