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That icon of the dot.com era, the Aeron chair, is not just good for your posture, it seems. It is also helping the environment while adding to its maker’s bottom line.

A new case study from Forrester Research looks at how a commitment to sustainability has paid off financially for office furnishing manufacturer Herman Miller (NASDAQ:MLHR). The company began incorporating sustainability into its business practices in the early 1950s.

Since then, Herman Miller has committed to audacious environmental goals and transformed its organization, design and manufacturing processes, marketing materials, and relationships with customers.

As a result, Herman Miller has seen significant cost savings from energy reduction and more efficient manufacturing processes as well as progress toward its goal of zero emissions by 2020.

Herman Miller’s investments in areas such as energy efficiency have resulted in a 32% rate of return. Herman Miller has also used techniques such as lean manufacturing and the Cradle to Cradle Design Protocol to improve overall efficiency of manufacturing and reduce costs.

On the path to its goal of 100% green energy and zero emissions, Herman Miller has already reduced landfill waste by 80%, hazardous waste by 91%, overall emissions by 87%, and water usage by 67%, while doubling sales to more than $2 billion.

Lessons for other business include:

  • Green strategies require executive support.
  • Employee engagement is critical to the success of green initiatives.
  • Third-party certifications are powerful marketing tools that enable green credibility.

The full Case Study: Herman Miller Shows That Sustainability And
Profits Go Hand-In-Hand
is available for purchase.

Source: Herman Miller: How Profits and Sustainability Parallel