As of September, Humanscale is the first manufacturer in any industry to achieve Living Product Challenge certification. The certification, which encompasses the most rigorous standard for sustainable manufacturing, has been given to two Humanscale products: the Float table, a height-adjustable desk, and the Diffrient Smart task chair. They are now both classified as “Living Products.”
“The goals of the Living Product Challenge closely align with Humanscale’s core values and our goal as a company is to have a net positive impact on the earth,” said 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 tasks manufacturers and suppliers with developing products using processes powered only by renewable energy and within the water balance of the places they are made. With an overall message that Living Products create habitats, build soil, improve quality of life, and provide inspiration for personal, political, and economic change, the Living Product Challenge addresses design and construction methods and draws on the ideas of biomimicry and biophilia.
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. Humanscale’s Float table and Diffrient Smart chair went through two rounds of reviews with the International Living Future Institute, founders of the Living Product Challenge.
The lifecycle of both products were analyzed and Humanscale’s manufacturing facilities were visited and assessed. As the first to complete the full challenge, Humanscale’s achievement illustrates the company’s commitment to making a net positive impact and is also an indication of the larger potential for the industry as a whole.
In addition to the Living Product Challenge, Humanscale continues to work toward achieving a net positive impact through its support of ecosystems in Cambodia with the World Wildlife Fund, developments and improvements in Health Product Declarations, and its work with ANEW, an organization through which the company can locally recycle or donate used products. Humanscale has also consistently improved its design and manufacturing processes through efforts including a rainwater capture system, which ensures only chemical-free rainwater is used in the manufacturing process, and by increasing conservation of waste through compost.
“Humanscale has really taken the Living Product Challenge to heart,” said James Connelly, director of the Living Product Challenge. “They are challenging our current manufacturing paradigm and fundamentally transforming their products and processes to be as beautiful and efficient as anything found in the natural world. We haven’t always known if creating truly net positive products is possible. Humanscale is taking their role as an innovator in human and life-centric design to the next level and proving that if you set your aspirations high enough, you can achieve incredible things.”