A business, and the products it sells, can only be environmentally sustainable through a holistic approach to design, raw materials, production methods, packaging, shipping, recycling, and even marketing–across the entire value chainBrian Walker, CEO of Herman Miller writes in HBR Green.
Here are three things Walker recommends to companies working with their suppliers on the long-term goal of going green:
1. Design products with sustainability as a core principle. Walker says that Herman Miller embeds cradle-to-cradle principals in its product development process for all new designs.
2. Refine goals and put them to paper. Walker says that the company aims to be fully sustainable by 2020, but is holding itself accountable to interim goals along the way. For example, by 2010, Walker says that 50 percent of its sales will come from products that conform to its own Design for the Environment standards, and the company aims to reduce its environmental footprint by 80 percent.
3. Embrace transparency and meaningful metrics. The company awards points through a Supplier Quantification Process for formal environmental programs and active waste-reduction programs. It rates suppliers according to how effectively they are working to help Herman Miller reach its goals.