Sophie Thomas
Co-founder Ocean Friendly Design Forum

Sophie has been working in the fields of ethical and sustainable design, behaviour change and material processes through her design agency, Thomas.Matthews for twenty years.

A long-term interest in materials led Sophie to share her experience of closed loop thinking with other designers. In 2012, she founded The Great Recovery, a programme that looked to build capacity and understanding around circular design in the materials supply chain and investigating the impact of design in a circular economy system. This project ran for four years, supported by Innovate UK and the RSA where Sophie became Director of Design and Circular Economy. Through her work Sophie has become a leader in sustainable product and process design advising industries across all sectors how they can consider designing from a closed loop perspective. Sophie has an in-depth knowledge of material use and how to reduce the impact of design on the environment.

Sophie has been included on numerous lists such as Design Week’s HOT 50, I.D’s 50 under 30 and Top Waste influencers. She is included on the Who’s Who and Who’s Who Business Elite list since 2008 and was on the board of trustees for the Design Council between 2008 and 2011. She is currently on the board of trustees for WRAP. Sophie plays a vocal part in promoting sustainable thinking in the design industry and regularly takes part in conferences and workshops all around the world. She has also been part of many judging panels including the prestigious London Design Medal, Design Week, D&AD white pencil awards and international graphic design awards including ICOGRADA and Jump the Gap Design competition. In 2016 she was awarded an honorary fellowship of UAL.

Sophie has assisted global businesses and UK government organisations to define the role of designers within discussions around waste streams, resource efficiency and circular economies, and has worked with major organisations including Proctor and Gamble, Howies and Samsung on new models for circular business, internal communication of sustainable systems and external sustainability campaigns. Her work at the RSA has led to her being design advisor for DEFRA’s Circular Economy Task Force and on the committee for the ‘Industry Evolution’ report published in October 2015. In 2014 Sophie became one of the first designers to become a Chartered Waste Manager (CIWM) for her work around designing out waste streams and circular system design and for the last two years has been nominated for CIWM’s Industry Leader of the Year.

Curiosity sent her to Kamilo beach, Hawaii in 2014 to see for herself the true impact of plastic on the oceans and she has subsequently created an exhibition, Never Turn Your back on the Ocean