Humanscale, a New York City-based designer and manufacturer of high-performance ergonomic products, was recognized on the evening of September 14, 2016 as the first manufacturer in any industry to achieve Living Product Challenge certification. Administered by the International Living Future Institute, the certification, which presents a rigorous standard for sustainable manufacturing, was officially announced at the Institute’s Living Product Expo in Pittsburgh, PA where Humanscale’s sustainability officer, Jane Abernethy, was on hand to accept the award. Two Humanscale products — the Float table, a height-adjustable desk, and the Diffrient Smart task chair — are now to classified as “Living Products.”
“The goals of the Living Product Challenge closely align with Humanscale’s core values and our goal as a company to have a net positive impact on the earth,” says Humanscale founder and CEO, Robert King. “Being a net positive manufacturer is not only about reducing harm, but about actively making a positive impact on our communities and the environment. With certified Living Products, every time someone makes a purchase they are not only getting highly functional, healthy products, they are also making a positive contribution to the environment.”
The challenge calls on manufacturers and suppliers to create products using processes powered only by renewable energy and within the water balance of the places they are made. With the message that Living Products create habitats, build soil, improve quality of life and provide inspiration for personal, political and economic change, it addresses design and construction methods and draws on the ideas of biophilia and biomimicry.
To complete the challenge, participating companies must meet 20 Imperatives addressing categories such as Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty, as well as the four Core Imperatives: Safe Human Exposure, Red List, Responsible Industry, and Inspiration and Education. The Float table and Diffrient Smart chair went through two rounds of reviews with the International Living Future Institute. The lifecycle of each product was analyzed, and Humanscale’s manufacturing facilities were visited and assessed.
To date, two other manufacturers have met a portion of the challenge, Owens Corning, for its insulation, and Sirewall, for rammed earth walls.