NEW YORK—Humanscale, a leading designer and manufacturer of ergonomic office products, has fully embraced the undertaking to create a net positive future through initiatives that go beyond sustainability and give back to the world. With a commitment to transparency, the company’s 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility Report details changes that reflect bold vision and inspiring leadership.
The first company to achieve full Living Product Challenge certification, meeting the stringent sustainability standards set by the International Living Future Institute, Humanscale offers two Living Products: the Diffrient Smart chair and Float table. The seal signifies that Humanscale’s manufacturing facility and the organization as a whole meet rigorous standards in a number of categories. For instance, its manufacturing facility features an advanced system that captures rainwater; the only water used for all aspects of production. Energy use in the building is tracked annually, and a solar panel system generated nearly 225 percent of the energy used to manufacture the Living Products in 2016. During the certification process, Humanscale created a system to work towards diverting 90 percent of the facility’s waste from landfill—a challenge that required a thorough review of the production line, the facility, and staff management to ensure waste is properly sorted and recycled. The International Living Future Institute also evaluated Humanscale’s environmental impact beyond company walls, looking to the brand’s extensive restoration project in Cambodia with WWF, showcasing its success in establishing a restorative impact.
Humanscale’s environmental philosophy compels them to take challenges further than required, never settling for “good enough.” This mission extends to every aspect of the brand’s operations. After completing an in-depth audit of materials and ingredients used in its Living Product Challenge certified products, Humanscale opted to extend this process to its entire line of products. Recognizing that consumers are more informed and environmentally conscious than ever, Humanscale has bolstered its commitment to material transparency. Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and Declare labels are just two new standards for fully disclosing product materials. Declare labels document 99.9 percent of the ingredients in a given product while HPD labels are evaluated and managed by the HPD Collaborative. This not-for-profit organization provides a standard format for disclosing product content, emissions and health information. Today, Humanscale has published more HPDs than any other manufacturer in the industry.
The Work Continues:
Humanscale is working hard to identify the materials and ingredients found in every single product as it aims to create completely, toxin-free solutions and raise the standard of transparency for all manufacturers. The company recently refined its Design for Environment process to ensure that materials are thoroughly vetted before any product can go into production. To start, Humanscale products avoid using Chrome 6 (which can be both a carcinogen and a reproductive toxin) and Formaldehyde (a known carcinogen). The company is actively working to completely eliminate Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC (dioxins released during the processing of PVC can cause health problems) from its products.
While these recent accomplishments and actions deserve recognition, they reflect just the first wave of Humanscale’s efforts to create a net positive future. With an aim to change manufacturing into an enterprise that’s ultimately self-sustaining and replenishing, Humanscale is an active member of The Net Positive Project, a partnership of nonprofits and businesses who believe companies have the potential to positively affect the world, rather than simply reduce their negative impact. This relatively new organization is working to finalize its framework for achieving and tracking impact.
Informed with a precise understanding of its impact as a global manufacturer, Humanscale continuously takes the most challenging but impactful path towards making the world better for all living beings. To support its mission and stay on track, Humanscale has partnered with several external associations such as the ILFI (International Living Future Institute), WWF (World Wildlife Fund), and CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project). The brand also values its accreditation from a number of external initiatives such as LEED offices/showroom, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the Living Product Challenge.