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.
Herman Miller’s DfE Protocol goes beyond regulatory compliance to thoroughly evaluate new product designs in four 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?
- LCA—Have we optimized the product based on the entire lifecycle?
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 our DfE 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.
Chemical Management Policy
Our customers want to know what’s in our products, and we’re willing to share. For almost two decades, we’ve collected detailed information on the chemicals and materials in our products. We work deep within our supply chain, manufacturing processes, and products to clean up problematic materials in our aim for cleaner chemistry. We do so because we’re committed to being radically transparent, as well as producing the safest and healthiest products possible.
Through our Design for Environment (DfE) protocol, we not only work to meet all regulatory compliance standards for products, we also endeavor to meet our customers’ needs for healthy, sustainable products and spaces. Our DfE protocol applies to all of our goods sold within North America and is in the process of being adopted throughout our global family of brands.
To that end, we are focused on removing chemicals of concern from our products and ensuring they are not used in our new products. To do this, we have developed a Herman Miller Restricted List of Chemicals based on voluntary building standards, product certifications, and applicable regulations.
Our research has led us to prioritize the following chemicals:
Halogenated Flame Retardants
Heavy Metals & Heavy Metal Compounds
Organic Solvents: Formaldehyde and Methylene Chloride
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
By holding ourselves to stringent environmental requirements, making products that meet the most rigorous certifications, and sharing massive amounts of environmental data, we help our customers achieve their own goals, promote health and well-being, and deliver the best possible products.