Herman Miller Highlights Progress Toward "A Better World" at Greenbuild 2011

October 04, 2011

Herman Miller, Inc., maintains its record as a leading supporter and participant of the US Green Building Council at this year's Greenbuild 2011 International Conference and Expo, being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, October 4-7. Celebrating its eleventh year, Greenbuild has emerged as the primary destination for professionals with an interest in environmentally sustainable products and building practices.

The company's Platinum sponsorship of the larger event experience for attendees will be complemented by its own presentation of Herman Miller's latest sustainable product designs and achievements. This includes release of its fifth annual A Better World report, documenting Herman Miller's progress toward its Perfect Vision of true corporate sustainability by 2020.

Perfect Vision
Herman Miller's Perfect Vision initiative was introduced in 2004, dedicating the company to achieve a wide range of sustainability targets by the year 2020, including zero waste to landfills, zero hazardous waste generation, the use of 100% green energy and 100% of product revenue through sustainable designs.

Between 1994 and the end of its fiscal year 2011 in May, the company has reduced air emissions by 81 percent, hazardous waste by 95 percent, landfill waste by 90 percent, and process water use by 75 percent. Additionally, 100 percent of all the company's electrical energy consumption is derived from renewable sources, such as wind and biomass. Fiscal 2011 sales of Design for Environment (DfE) approved products were 54 percent of total product revenue. Overall, since the '94 baseline year, the company has reduced its operational footprint by 88 percent while growing its total business approximately 60%.

"In the spirit of transparency, some of these metrics represent a slight decline compared to last year's report," noted Gabe Wing, Herman Miller's Director of Environmental Health and Safety. "While we continued to make incremental improvements and investment in all areas, and actual numeric gains in many measures, our roughly 25% growth in the total business made for a bigger denominator and impacted overall percentages. But we welcome that challenge!"

Better World
These results and more are detailed in the fifth annual release of the company's A Better World report, highlighting progress in numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives, including environmental advocacy, community service, inclusiveness and diversity, and health and well-being for the company's 2011 fiscal year.

"It's important to continue to evaluate the progress of our initiatives so we can better understand what's working, or isn't, as we address the needs of our workforce, customers, community and shareholders," said Wing. "It also allows us to share those learnings with other organizations and individuals, and hopefully encourage them in their own journey."

Recognized by Others
In other developments, Herman Miller has also earned ANSI/BIFMA level®3 certification from NSF International for its Aeron, Celle, Embody, Mirra, and Sayl task seating, Setu multipurpose seating, and Caper stacking seating products. Level® 3 represents the highest achievement a product can obtain under the BIFMA furniture sustainability standard. All of these seating options will be on display at Greenbuild 2011, along with Herman Miller's new Canvas Office Landscape solution.

Author Bill Birchard, who's just released book Merchants of Virtue (Palmgrave/Macmillan, 2011) highlights Herman Miller's journey toward sustainability, will also be speaking at a press event to be held Thursday, Oct. 6 at 1:30 in Room 710 of the South Building. A noted business journalist, Birchard and his publisher approached Herman Miller with their book proposal based on the company's longstanding commitment to the environment. Maintaining complete independent editorial control, the author and publisher were given unfettered access to all levels of the corporation and its archives. Merchants of Virtue will also be featured in the bookstore at Greenbuild.

About Herman Miller Inc.
Herman Miller works for a better world around you—with inventive designs, technologies and related services that improve the human experience wherever people work, heal, learn, and live. Its curiosity, ingenuity, and design excellence create award-winning products and services, resulting in more than $1.6 billion in revenue in fiscal 2011. Innovative business practices and a commitment to social responsibility have also established Herman Miller as a recognized global company. In 2011, Herman Miller again received the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation's top rating in its annual Corporate Equality Index and was also cited by FORTUNE as the "Most Admired" company in the contract furniture industry. Herman Miller trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MLHR.