Design for the Environment
As Herman Miller continues its "Journey toward Sustainability," designing our products with consideration for their environmental impact remains a central corporate strategy. Our long-term emphasis on product durability, innovation, and quality demonstrates that our company has effectively designed for the environment for decades. (As proof, one need only consider the many classic Herman Miller products manufactured in the 1950s and still in use today.)
Our focus now is on maintaining our high standards while incorporating increasingly more environmentally sustainable materials, features, and manufacturing processes into new product designs. Our Design for the Environment (DfE) team, which is responsible for developing environmentally sensitive design standards for new and existing Herman Miller products, has initiated a protocol to guide this effort. One of our design tenets is durability. We design for repeated use, repair, maintenance, and reassembly using standard parts, as often as possible.
McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), a product and industrial process design firm led by leading-edge environmental designers and thinkers Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart, supports the DfE team in its mission. Not coincidentally, McDonough's architectural firm, William McDonough + Partners, designed the Herman Miller Greenhouse in Holland, Michigan.
The MBDC Cradle to Cradle Design Protocol adopted by Herman Miller goes beyond regulatory compliance to thoroughly evaluate new product designs in three key areas:
Material Chemistry and Safety of Inputs—What chemicals are in the materials we specify, and are they the safest available? Disassembly—Can we take products apart at the end of their useful life to recycle their materials? Recyclability—Do the materials contain recycled content, and more importantly, can the materials be recycled at the end of the product's useful life?
Our commitment to designing for the environment extends beyond a single token product to incorporate a comprehensive, holistic approach. All future Herman Miller products will be evaluated within the rigors of the MBDC Cradle to Cradle Design Protocol. During the new product design process, the DfE team meets with the designers and engineers to review material chemistry, disassembly and recyclability as well as incoming packaging, and potential waste generation.
By looking closely at these and related issues, as well as conducting rigorous durability testing, our goal is to ensure that all new Herman Miller products will help create great working environments, while also respecting and protecting our natural environment.