Herman Miller Sustainability Initiatives

Posted by Path Interactive on : May  13,  2014


Today we get to talk about our favorite thing ever: Herman Miller. Fortunately, due to the progressive and forward thinking manufacturer’s amazing actions, products and research, there is always new territory to discuss. The three pillars of sustainability — or the “three E’s” — are generally understood as equity, economy and the environment. Herman Miller does a great job of all three. So let’s have a look at their process and achievements.


So, equity means different things to different people, but as a company, Herman Miller has gone out of its way to make commitments to what they call “things that matter to us.” In this quote “At Herman Miller, we respect each other as we are and focus on who we will become. Our culture represents the collective attitudes, aspirations, ideals, and experiences of the people who work here.” I believe that their commitment to their employees, their community and their innovation is evident.

Economy: Workplace Sustainability is an Investment

When looking at Herman Miller sustainability efforts, I think economy can be argued on 3 counts. The first is the economy of their designs. There are no extra parts;
everything is engineered
in the most straightforward and useful fashion, creating form and function that has been consistent for decades and will continue to be so. The second is the economy of their warranty. Someone once said, “A cynic knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.” Herman Miller understands value




And the home stretch: The Environment, arguably the largest component of Herman Miller sustainability efforts.

I give you an excerpt from Joel Van Wyk, Director of Product Management, Herman Miller Healthcare, in his research essay called: “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle: Designing Products and Processes for Sustainability”

“Environmental responsibility is one of the foundations Herman Miller is built on. In 1953, Founder D.J. De Pree stated that “we will be good stewards of the environment.” Our journey to be a more sustainable company has become more complex and far-reaching in the nearly 60 years since D.J. spoke those words.

…A lot of product manufacturers focus on recycled content and recyclability. We go farther upstream and downstream in a product’s life cycle. We pay attention to all of the components, materials, and processes that create a product. The 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? If you can’t separate the steel from the foam, you are less likely to recycle that chair. When we design our products, we think about that. We don’t want our products to end up in landfills, and we want hospitals to have better options for recycling.”

Attaining Greater Office Sustainability

Herman Miller’s sustainability initiatives are all lovely things. So here’s to ever-increasing sustainability across the board. At Benhar Office Interiors, we hope that our environmentally responsible ideas and practices are interesting to you, and we also would love to hear your input on how we can do more in the quest for office sustainability. When it comes to office interiors, green is the new black, NYC!

Find out how we can assist with your office sustainability while also providing a stylish setting optimized for productivity, get in touch with Benhar or give us a call at 212-481-6666