John’s job title, Better World marketing manager, brings a smile to his face everyday. He's obsessed with the idea that business can truly do good in the world and is very happy to be part of a company that believes the same.
October 6, 2010
As Herman Miller’s digital agency of record, Hello Design is responsible for shaping and overseeing the company’s digital strategy and executing digital touch points—from its website to its social media channels.
Established in 1999 by CEO/Creative Director David Lai and Creative Director Hiro Niwa, the award-winning company has been a minority-owned business for several years. But it wasn’t until they began working with Herman Miller that they learned about the benefits of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification.
Once Herman Miller employees explained to them why supplier diversity was important to the company, Hello was motivated to begin the certification process.
Lai and Niwa admit that the application process is rigorous. The certification requires thorough documentation to prove a company meets all of the criteria. In fact, one of the partners had to get U.S. citizenship.
Shortly after receiving MBE certification, Lai and Niwa began to experience the benefits that come with it. They contacted existing clients who directed them to their supplier diversity teams—a move that could help Hello gain additional business.
September 20, 2010
Herman Miller’s West Michigan facilities host customers from all over the world, but it’s especially fun when students stop by to see what’s behind our doors.
In fact, our Inclusiveness and Diversity team recently welcomed area students from the ¡Adelante! America youth program—a part of LAUP (Latin Americans United for Progress)—to our Greenhouse and Design Yard.
The visit was a great way for the students to learn more about us, our industry, and the types of careers available at the company.
Two students offered these comments about their visit:
The tour of the Design Yard gave me the opportunity to see some of the work engineers do, which I found very useful because engineering is one of the careers I am considering pursuing in college.
This experience opened my eyes to how much work it takes to just make a chair. The process of making a chair or any other piece of furniture involves a large amount of work, creativity, lab testing, and much more.
Meeting with area students also helps us connect with our community and understand what we can do as a company to make a difference—and a better world.
August 17, 2010
Your first reaction to that claim might be, “What? They make furniture.” And you would be right. But we’re committed to reducing our environmental footprint and using renewable energy. In fact, on Earth Day 2010, we announced that we would begin using 100 percent green electrical energy.
But we aren’t alone in preventing those carbon emissions. We are one of 50 organizations, including businesses, cities/municipalities, universities, and nonprofits, recognized by the U.S. EPA as Green Power Partners. That means we’re one of the top purchasers of renewable energy.
According to the EPA, in 2009, the top 50 Green Power Partners used more than 12 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power. This amount was equivalent to having prevented the release of CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than one million average American homes for one year.
I think it’s safe to say that doubts around the viability of renewable energy are now a thing of the past. And we’re happy to be a part of making that a reality.
Better World, What's Up
May 3, 2010
For 20 years, Herman Miller has advocated for the growth and inclusion of small and diverse businesses within its supply chain. And we’ve been a driving force for supporting Michigan businesses and our local economy.
So it’s appropriate that we’re sponsoring an exhibit this week at the 29th annual Michigan Minority Procurement Conference, “Rising Above A Dynamic Economy,” which will give us a chance to connect with some of the most accomplished minority business entrepreneurs in the state. It’s a great opportunity for Herman Miller to remain connected to what’s happening in the minority business community, to network and continue to build relationships with existing and potential suppliers, and to identify firms who can help bring new and innovative products to market for our customers.
The conference, held May 4 through 6, is hosted by the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council at Cobo Conference and Exhibition Center in Detroit, Michigan. The show will feature presentations, professional development seminars, and networking events. Around 300 major corporations and 1,200 minority business enterprises are expected to convene.
We’re looking forward to continuing our tradition of advocating for inclusiveness and diversity, and supporting our community.
Better World, Herman Miller Journal
April 22, 2010
One hundred percent green energy: One 2020 Perfect Vision goal achieved—in 2010. And we’re awfully proud about it at Herman Miller. But so what?
“So what” is that we were able to accomplish this goal due to the cost saving suggestions of our very own employees, rather than spending additional money.
Good business and sustainable business are accepted as one and the same and it’s deeply ingrained here at Herman Miller. Couple this with an environment where good ideas—no matter where they come from—are valued, and you have a cauldron of innovative and eco-friendly solutions.
There have been many ideas over the years that have helped Herman Miller save money and reach our 100% green energy goal. And there have been those that didn’t originally seem like a good idea, but have proven their worth and changed some of our own minds.
One example is the use of winding heaters on the big dust collector motors in our manufacturing facilities. (A winding heater uses the motor’s own internal wiring to keep it warm and avoid stress, which can occur by frequent stopping and starting during cold temperatures.) Roger Bosch, one of our master electricians, suggested using the winding heaters to help regulate the motors in the dust collectors. He figured Herman Miller could save operating expenses by having the option to turn off the motors when they weren’t in use. At first, some people were skeptical, but after closer evaluation the project was indeed a money saver. Energy manager Jerry Akers said the payback saved Herman Miller a “bucket load.” Overall, it’s estimated that the winding heaters will eventually help us save more than $52,000/year, nearly 700,000 kWh, and around 500 tons of carbon.
Not bad for a little people power, trust, and a penchant for sustainability.
Better World, What's Up
April 12, 2010
Until recently, the words “fortune” and “green” might have only conjured up images of the color of currency. And certainly they seemed like words from different parts of the thought spectrum. But my, how things have changed.
Now those words are part of the regular vernacular—from cutting-edge entrepreneurs to leaders of Fortune 500 companies to environmental organizers. Businesses now believe that being “green” isn’t just the nice thing to do; it’s the smarter thing to do, creating more economic and social value. It’s the approach Herman Miller has practiced for years.
This week, Herman Miller will be an active participant in the “green” dialogue at the Fortune Brainstorm: Green conference, held April 12-14 in Laguna Niguel, California. Representatives from Herman Miller will join leading thinkers from different industries and sectors for the second annual event. As the title alludes, this will truly be a brainstorm—a working conference where ideas will be shared, sparks will fly, and perhaps participants will blaze a trail in some new and exciting direction.
As a leading advocate for sustainable design and solutions, Herman Miller is proud to sponsor this meeting of minds. And since it’s in on the beach in California, I’m really excited to be attending. Watch for my updates on @HermanMiller, hashtag #betterworld.
Better World, Technology
April 7, 2010
Recently, I had the opportunity to learn from leading industry peers at the Social Media and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) conference hosted by Just Means in London, England.
It was a full day of presentations by communications execs from organizations such as Unilever, Dell, Royal Dutch Shell, and SAP. CSR strategists from agencies like Futerra communications and retailers like Marks & Spencer described their journeys from stodgy brands your parents might remember to becoming leading brands in environmental advocacy. We also heard from one of the founders of Twestival, who organized real-life events from on-line Twitter communities in order to raise money for charitable causes.
One thing I learned is that the global CSR and social media community is tight knit and in constant communication, although we’re all still learning how to best leverage social media.
Here are some of my primary takeaways from the conference:
Better World, What's Up
March 18, 2010
Photo via: Just Means Future of Sustainability Communications & Practice
This Friday, March 19, I’ll be networking with global peers at the Just Means Social Media and CSR conference in London. The conference is an opportunity to share stories and best practices as participants begin to fully grasp the power of the converging forces of social media and corporate social responsibility, which are totally in line with our “Better World” values here at Herman Miller.
In an era where anyone can be a global reporter, businesses have moved to increase their level of corporate transparency; the days of making a statement and hiding behind press releases are long gone. That this idea is catching on in the mainstream is reflected in the speaker roster: representatives from Unilever, Dell, Royal Dutch Shell, software giant SAP, and The Guardian newspaper. Others are on the agenda and participants include representatives ranging from corporate giants like Coca-Cola and Arcelor Mittal, to media agencies such as BSkyB, and international development organizations such as Care International UK.
For more information on the conference visit the Just Means website. And if you want to follow me at the event, I plan to tweet live from the event at @HermanMiller. Watch for hashtag #BetterWorld.