The Cradle to Cradle design concept is based on the fundamental assumptions of the Cradle to Cradle school of thought and spells out what that specifically means for the manufacturing of products. In 2002, as sales fell to the pre-Internet-bubble level, Herman Miller faced layoffs and cutbacks to adjust their workforce and operating level to respond to the post-bubble market correction. Life cycle design: Cradle to Cradle? Therefore, when architect William McDonough approached the company in 1997 with an offer to integrate sustainability principles into 10 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the green-building rating system established by the U.S. Green Building Council, a coalition of 7,500 companies and organizations that work to set standards for buildings that are healthy, environmentally sound, and profitable ( At present though, few laws are put in place in any country to oblige manufacturers to take back their products for disassembly, nor are there even such obligations for manufacturers of cradle-to-cradle products. Chem. All our systems are based on linear design. The question of how to deal with the countless existing technical nutrients (synthetic materials) that cannot be recycled or reintroduced to the natural environment is dealt with in C2C design. After working with the Value Analysis engineering group, we realized that we could replace steel with PVC in one of our systems products. Two of the most basic terms in the Eco-Design field are “Cradle to Grave” and “Cradle to Cradle”. responsible design standards (currently C2C). This makes the extraction of rare earth elements and other materials uneconomical (at recycling sites, products typically get crushed after which the materials are extracted by means of magnets, chemicals, special sorting methods, ...) and thus optimal recycling of, for example metals is impossible (an optimal recycling method for metals would require to sort all similar alloys together rather than mixing plain iron with alloys). [21] The cradle-to-cradle model in some implementations is closely linked with the car-free movement, such as in the case of large-scale building projects or the construction or redevelopment of urban environments. Herman Miller was also in the process of implementing the Herman Miller Production System (HMPS), a manufacturing system based on the Toyota Production System (TPS). Weight Credit (Recycled Content): The weight credit equals the percentage of the component that is made up of recycled content. Waste equals food “Eco-effectiveness seeks to design industrial systems that emulate the healthy abundance of nature. He convinced me that it was the right thing to do, so I would have to find the $2.5 million somewhere else. In 2001, the company felt that enough of the C2C process had been defined with MBDC to implement the design protocol on a product from beginning to end. Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek, head of the German Wuppertal Institute called his assertion, that the "old" environmental movement had hindered innovation with its pessimist approach "pseudo-psychological humbug". The roof is part of an $18 million rainwater treatment system designed to clean 20 billion US gallons (76,000,000 m3) of rainwater annually. If the materials we come into contact with and are exposed to on a daily basis are not toxic and do not have long term health effects, then the health of the overall system can be better maintained. The intent was to fashion the line after the production line for the Aeron24 chair. Disassembly The product should be easy to disassemble and have its different components clearly marked so that they could be properly recycled. Converting from cradle-to-grave to cradle-to-cradle is a difficult but necessary paradigm shift to reach a more circular economy, requiring manufacturers to think in cycles rather than in a linear way. Drew Schramm, senior VP of Supply Chain Management, reflected on the irony of his position at Herman Miller. We don’t make decisions that will put us at a disadvantage in the market. McDonough and Braungart explained the difference between efficiency and effectiveness: The marvelous thing about effective systems is that one wants more of them, not less. Standard and Poor’s Compustat® data, accessed June 2006. your own paper. Currently, many human beings come into contact or consume, directly or indirectly, many harmful materials and chemicals daily. We want to be in business AND be nice guys.” The company was also betting that global resource constraints were leading to tightening of legislation on the use of materials and energy, and waste disposal. This structure allows the user to benefit from a great variety of designs and functions. Through innovations that included the Noguchi Table, the Eames Lounge Chair, the Action Office System, and the Aeron Chair, Herman Miller evolved into a leader of residential and office furniture and workplace design. The positive side of my decision was that I became a hero on the steering committee which started to see me as an advocate, not a potential enemy.27. heavy metals, pigments, halogen compounds etc.) Find out more here.. About the Challenge: Designers have a critical role to play by envisioning products made with safe materials that can be perpetually cycled, and that eliminate the concept of "waste". Closing the loop The Mirra team discussed several options for recycling the material from the Mirra chair. For example, the more lightweight a car or a plane the less fuel it consumes and consequently the less impact it has. (See Exhibit 8 for Mirra chair sales forecasts.) 20 Interview with case authors, March 26, 2006. William McDonough was a proficient proselytizer of the design protocol, winning numerous environmental awards including the National Design Award26 for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. Products optimized for biological cycle are termed biological nutrients (e.g. One potential example is a shoe that is designed and mass-produced using the C2C model. The new board, under the auspices of the Institute, will oversee the certification moving forward.[25]. Collaborations with notable designers resulted in creative excellence that had been showcased in permanent collections in many museums including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institute. Only with NDAs, cajoling, and a bit of arm twisting were we able to get them on board.”25. In the cradle-to-cradle model, all materials used in industrial or commercial processes—such as metals, fibers, dyes—fall into one of two categories: "technical" or "biological" nutrients. (See Exhibit 7 for a factory process flow diagram.). The company anticipated that the international market would continue to be an important area of future growth for the company. Indoor Air Quality Team: in charge of reducing off-gassing, the phenomenon by which some materials release toxic gases or particles. Maintenance was affected by C2C insofar as any replacement materials (for cost reduction) would have to be assessed by DfE. Over the following 60 years, D.J. In the Launch phase, the development team finalized the product while the factory ramped up. When Herman Miller adopted the zero landfill goal in 1991, the company realized that the way its products were designed generated waste in the production process that could be minimized or avoided. This saved Ford $30 million that would otherwise have been spent on mechanical treatment facilities. 11 Ethospace is an office system made of individual segments, called “tiles,” that are attached to steel frames. The certification is available at several levels: basic, silver, gold, platinum, with more stringent requirements at each. What is Cradle to Cradle Manufacturing? To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-5457685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to Brought in as a supply-chain specialist to cut costs, he somehow found himself on the steering committee of the Design for Environment (DfE) team, charged with setting the company’s environmental policy and direction. You can get your custom paper from For wood, the forest source is required. There might have been multiple iterations of any given module because of changes to the design for C2C compliance and other issues. 9 Herman Miller website,, accessed February, 2007. achieving the company’s environmental goals. Example 1 By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy, The input space is limited by 250 symbols, Cradle-to-Cradle Design at Herman Miller: Moving The building is certified to the standards of the recognized German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), based on the criteria of the Active House vision and inspired by the Cradle to Cradle… At the time, McDonough had formed the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) consulting firm with German chemist Michael Braungart, and was working with companies such as BASF, Ciba Geigy, and Nike on defining what would become the cradle-to-cradle (C2C) design protocol. An example of a monstrous hybrid was a shoe whose leather is treated with a non-biodegradable dye. Herman Miller was founded as the Michigan Star Furniture Company in 1905, but its true father was D.J. 3 × weight of component. They relate to the product life cycle from the raw materials (Cradle) to disposal (Grave). When the manufacturer separates the sole from the upper parts (separating the technical and biological nutrients), the biological nutrients are returned to the natural environment while the technical nutrients can be used to create the sole of another shoe. Also, McDonough was willing to put together resources for the implementation of his vision, therefore ensuring that C2C would be more than just a nice idea on paper. Think it can evolve even further? Moreover, the raw material cost of TPU was twice that of PVC, increasing the cost of the arm pad assembly by approximately 30%. The Material is a technical or biological nutrient and can be recycled (or composted) within an existing commercial collection and recycling infrastructure: 100%. By contrast, [the] cradle-to-cradle approach mirrors nature’s regenerative cycles so that at the end of its useful life, a product and its component materials are used to make equally valuable products. Cradle-to-Cradle Design at Herman Miller: Moving Toward Environmental Sustainability. Particularly hazardous materials (e.g. After researching various options over several months, the team converged on the cradle-to-cradle protocol offered by MBDC because they felt that its design focus would fit well with the company’s design and innovation culture. In fact, tooling for the PVC arm pads had already been fabricated. Herman Miller hired two full-time employees, supply chain manager Scott Charon and chemical engineer Gabe Wing, who were placed in the Supply Chain Management and Engineering departments, respectively. This would require, at the very least, a different way, 25 Interview with case authors, April 18, 2006. It is closely linked with passive solar design in the building industry and with permaculture in agriculture within or near urban environments. ISO 14001 Team: in charge of developing an environmental management system for the company’s facilities. Sustaining Our World Posted on November 15, 2018 by dmguion June 2, 2020 I just came across an interesting interview with Michael Braungart in which he proposes a new model for manufacture and consumption. The shoe is mass-produced at a manufacturing plant that utilizes its waste material by putting it back into the cycle, potentially by using off-cuts from the rubber soles to make more soles instead of merely disposing of them; this is dependent on the technical materials not losing their quality as they are reused. In 1997, Herman Miller initiated a project to evaluate a number of environmental protocols that could help the company move toward environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, Gabe [Wing] and Scott [Charon] are managing this whole process on our end—meeting with our suppliers and with our suppliers’ suppliers, educating them on DfE, and helping them find alternative materials. Andi Talley, Continuous Improvement team leader, observed that “With its policy of no inventory, no wasted products, and no waste of parts and time, the Toyota Production System is aligned with DfE.” Manufacturing efforts to reduce waste included returnable packaging (to the suppliers), eliminating packaging, and finding useful ways to use non-returnable packaging, thereby eliminating some other form of packaging in the factory. De Pree and his two sons, Hugh and Max, grew the company into an internationally acclaimed furniture design house. In the Exploration phase, designers brainstormed on the basic concept of the product and outlined high-level specifications. To set up the database, Herman Miller spent approximately $100K on IT. Another possibility was to tap into the network of the secondary office-furniture market to collect used products. Cradle to Cradle® is a set of design principles which was developed in the 1990s by Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart, William McDonough and EPEA Hamburg. to price and sell the chair, and logistical support for handling the products coming back to Herman Miller. recycled content, DfE weight for Copying or posting is an infringement of copyright. [3] The phrase "cradle to cradle" itself was coined by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s. Instead of directing intelligence toward regulation compliance and liability reduction, why not design industrial processes and products so safe they do not need regulation, and direct creativity toward maximizing economic, social, and ecological benefits? (See Exhibit 1 for a picture of the Mirra chair with arm pad indicated.) Parts must be marked clearly so disassemblers will know which recycling bin to place them in. [email protected] or 617-783-7860. Over the next three years, Herman Miller product developers, engineers, supply chain managers, and the Environmental Affairs department worked with MBDC to develop the practical elements of the C2C design process. They asked me to join the DfE steering committee, following the precept that you should keep your enemy close to you. They don’t want to share that information. Eco-effectiveness vs. eco-efficiency Eco-efficiency aimed to incrementally improve the modus operandi of the existing industrial system so that it would generate less toxic pollution and decrease the rate at which it depleted natural resources. In addition, countless other forms of plant and animal life are also exposed. The method uses the term 'risk' in the sense of hazard (as opposed to consequence and likelihood). Although product performance and price were still the dominant criteria in the market, there were increasingly more customers who also considered environmental impact as a factor in their purchase decision. In case you can’t find a sample example, our professional writers are ready to help you with writing It is an illustration of the evolution of a certain element from the day it is created to the moment it ceases to exist. As a result, some customers had started to ask for PVC-free products. McDonough said the new institute "will enable our protocol to become a public certification program and global standard". A cradle-to-cradle design system essentially consists of two “metabolisms,” with the first as “biological nutrients” such as biodegradable packaging that can safely be returned to the environment, and the second as a closed loop cycle of “technical nutrients” consisting of high-quality synthetic and mineral resources that are perpetually recovered and remanufactured [4]. patented design made of recyclable Nylon 6.23 The new part met the requirements of C2C and was also less expensive than the original. for material + De Pree believed that Herman Miller should not be satisfied with offering innovation and good design. The shoe is mass-produced at a manufacturing plant that utilizes its waste material by putting it back into the cycle, potentially by using off-cuts from the rubber soles to make more soles instead of merely disposing of them; this is dependent on the technical materials not losing their quality as they are reused. Although each product was evaluated on a case-by-case basis, a final DfE score of at least 50% was typically required for product acceptance. Translating C2C Principles into Design 16 According to the EPA, in recent years, some scientists have proposed that chemicals might inadvertently be disrupting the endocrine system of humans and wildlife. Feedback was given to the development team in the form of a DfE scorecard. Finally, the “virtuous closed loops” concept that is behind C2C enabled businesses to move beyond the traditional “be less bad” to the “consumption is good” paradigm. In 2002, Herman Miller, Steelcase, HNI, and Haworth had, respectively, 16%, 29%, 19%, and 13% of the $8.9 billion U.S. office furniture market. However, the bottom line was that if suppliers wanted to continue to do business with the $1.4 billion company, they would have to comply with the C2C protocol. The team thought that once the product had shipped, resources would be drained and the psychological hurdle of revisiting the PVC problem would be too high to overcome. Charon and Wing worked together to assess the materials used in Herman Miller products using the MBDC material screening process. The central design principle of eco-effectiveness is waste equals food.”15 Once a product had been designed so that, at the end of its life cycle, it could safely be returned to industry (through recycling) or nature (through biodegradation), pollution and depletion would therefore disappear, resulting in what McDonough called “virtuous closed loops,” in which industrial and natural elements were recycled over and over. De Pree, who purchased and renamed (after his father-in-law) the company in 1923. J.G. Cradle-to-grave A term used in life-cycle analysis to describe the … (See Exhibit 5 for DfE score calculations.) Source: Kavlock et al., “Research Needs for the Risk Assessment of Health and Environmental Effects of Endocrine Disruptors: A Report of the U.S. EPA-sponsored Workshop,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 104, Supplement 4, August 1996, pp. See for instance the LCA-based model of the eco-costs, which has been designed to cope with analyses of recycle systems. Examples included natural fibers such as cotton or wool. On the other hand, eco-effectiveness required creating a new industrial system that did not generate pollution or deplete natural resources. The design consultants from Studio 7.5 and the Herman Miller development team attended the meeting. According to Mark Schurman, Herman Miller’s Director of Corporate Communications: “We absolutely believe that more and tighter environmental regulations are the way the world is going. It served as an exhibition and vent venue as well as a spatial sculpture. Although this design change was motivated by performance criteria (i.e., breathability and comfort), the foam, a “red” material, was replaced by a copolyesther elastomer textile, a recyclable “yellow” material. Component DfE Score: The DfE score of a component is the sum of its material chemistry, disassembly, and recyclability DfE weights divided by the maximum DfE weight possible (which is equivalent to three times the weight of the component). The C2C model can be applied to almost any system in modern society: urban environments, buildings, manufacturing, social systems. Experts in the field of environment protection have questioned the practicability of the concept. To switch to TPU meant that Herman Miller would have to either pay its supplier to retool (costing over $100K), or try to modify the PVC tool to work with TPU. (See Exhibit 5 for how to calculate DfE weights and score.). The mindset of the management and employees was reflected in the “things that matter” at Herman Miller (as described in a company document): Curiosity and Exploration, Design, A Better World, Performance, Relationships, Transparency, Engagement, Inclusiveness, and Foundations.6 Drew Schramm, one of the few seniors managers hired from the outside, noted: There is a very strong culture at Herman Miller—humility is a big part of it. Examples included raw materials transformed by industry such as metals or petrochemicals. Economic Performance. Therefore, this phase starts with a DfE kickoff meeting where the DfE team presents its guidelines to the design team, and gives them access to the chemical products database. Over a period of 6 months, starting in June 2001, Charon and Wing trained over 300 Herman Miller employees on the new design protocol. The company’s environmental efforts culminated in the early 2000s with the “Perfect Vision” initiative, a range of sustainability targets including zero landfill (previously established in 1991), zero hazardous waste generation, zero air and water emissions from manufacturing, company buildings constructed to a minimum LEED10 Silver certification, and the use of 100% green energy (renewable and environmentally preferable) to meet power needs; these targets were to be achieved by the year 2020. Mat. The line would be connected by a conveyor that would transport the product from station to station as manufacturing associates assembled the chair from the base up. They underwent a practice of remanufacturing incorporating the cradle to cradle design. Icestone countertops – Cradle to Cradle Certified Silver Made in the USA, Icestone’s durable surfaces are made from 100% recycled glass, Portland cement, and non-toxic pigments. Recyclability and Recycled Content: It’s like asking them for the recipe for Classic Coke. 14 McDonough and Braungart define a material as being “upcycled” when it is utilized over and over for the same high-quality. Sales and marketing At the time, there was a fair amount of press about the C2C protocol. We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. Once th… C2C is a godsend to business!20, At that time, although McDonough and Braungart had developed the conceptual framework for C2C, the details of how to implement the protocol did not exist. The Cradle to Cradle ® philosophy therefore eliminates the concept of waste, and we are working towards a time when all waste or worn-out carpet becomes a source of nutrient, designing in features that allow old carpet to be entirely taken apart and reused. The goal is for disassembly to create individual components that may have value when recycled. As Braungart and McDonough explained: “Herman Miller’s engineers were well informed about materials performance, but had very little knowledge about the composition of those materials. In the Development phase, once the basic design was established, the product was divided into modules, with different teams assigned to each module. If the supplier agreed to cooperate with the assessment of their materials, then the DfE team would guide the supplier through the assessment process and provide feedback on the results. The concept consists of three underlying principles, all of which build on … The project was overseen by a senior advisory team that included representatives from Advanced Projects, Engineering, Materials Research, Supply Chain Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Finance, and Marketing. For example, in the redesign of the Ford River Rouge Complex, the planting of Sedum (stonecrop) vegetation on assembly plant roofs retains and cleanses rain water. 23 Nylon 6 is a polymer also known by the trademark “Perlon.” 24 The Aeron chair was introduced in 1994 as a high-end office chair. suspected carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, mutagens, reproductive toxins, and teratogens.18 In addition, chemicals that did not meet other human health or environmental relevance criteria were “red” chemicals. The term "Cradle to Cradle" is a registered trademark of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) consultants. chemistry The fundamental goal of Cradle to Cradle system is to ensure sustainable businesses maintaining positive impact on people and planet. As Schramm put it: “We have to use business common sense. Herman Miller worked with the supplier to get rid of the cardboard, and to make the packaging returnable and reusable. in transport, the use phase has the most influence on the environmental footprint. Cradle-to-cradle design (also referred to as 2CC2, C2C, cradle 2 cradle, or regenerative design) is a biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems that models human industry on nature's processes, where materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. In a three-hour training session, employees were given an overview of the C2C protocol, a detailed explanation of the DfE process (C2C as specifically implemented at Herman Miller), and a hands-on exercise for disassembling one of Herman Miller’s office chairs. Although the proposed Mirra chair options—ranging from adjustable vs. fixed lumbar to fabric covered vs. all-plastic back, along with multiple colors and finishes—added up to millions of possible combinations, the Mirra chair was easier to assemble than the Aeron chair—“like a tinkertoy,” according to Operations Work team leader Henrietta Carter. 12 Interview with case authors, March 26, 2006. the DfE guidelines, they listened. For many goods e.g. However, one designer described the risks of replacing PVC: PVC is the perfect material for arm pads—it’s extremely durable, scratch resistant, formable, and cheap! 6 “Things That Matter: Incomplete Thoughts About Herman Miller,” Herman Miller internal company document. This made the manufacturing line shorter and simpler, thereby allowing employees to rotate through every station, rather than only within zones as on the Aeron line. . DESIGN CHALLENGE 6. For example, the section on Aluminum in the “Material Selection” section stated: “Most aluminum is made from 100% recycled material and is 100% recyclable. He guessed that development engineers would also be more comfortable sticking with PVC because of product performance. Recyclability (g), Proposed Mirra Assembly-Line Process Flow, Cradle to cradle. chronic toxicants in manufacturing (including the known carcinogens vinyl chloride monomer and dioxins), and its generation of dioxins and furans when burned (including in incinerators).” ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Professor Deishin Lee and Lionel Bony (MBA 2006) prepared this case. DfE is going to help us stay ahead of the curve, hopefully setting the industry standard.”12. Cradle-to-Cradle Underlying Principles : urban environments, buildings, manufacturing, social systems 0 % chair arm... 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