SHINE Spotlight - Humanscale

February 24, 2020


At SHINE, an essential component of fostering sustainable growth and handprinting comes from collaborating with our partners. The SHINE Spotlight asks questions to our partners as an opportunity for them to share their missions and contributions to the world. We’d like to introduce Humanscale as our first SHINE Spotlight member: 


1. As a company, who is Humanscale?


Humanscale is the leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance ergonomic products that are better for the user and the environment. Through leveraging new technology in functional yet minimal designs, Humanscale transforms traditional offices into active, intelligent workspaces. Committed to making a net positive impact on the earth as well as our customers, Humanscale offers award-winning products designed with a focus on function, simplicity and longevity. 


2. How did you learn about SHINE and why did Humanscale join the consortium?


Humanscale was well on its path toward becoming net positive when we became aware of SHINE. While pursuing the Living Product Challenge, our Chief Sustainability Officer was introduced to Greg Norris, who is the Chief Scientist at the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and also happens to be the Co-Director of the SHINE program. Both he and SHINE provided instrumental guidance on how to quantify our progress and also connected us with a small community of manufacturers who share our pursuit of becoming net positive.


3. How does Humanscale create handprints and what are sustainable approaches that Humanscale takes to be Net Positive?


We have used a variety of approaches to creating handprints as we have found that it requires a mix of actions in order to overcome our water, carbon, energy and waste footprint. In the fall of 2018, Humanscale launched a handprinting campaign encouraging our customers to join us in creating positive impacts. The campaign provides 1 LED light bulb along with each Humanscale Smart chair sold and urges the recipient to use it to replace a less efficient bulb. Over time, this will save significant energy and prevent greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to this initiative, Humanscale has also sponsored the planting of over 1,500 trees in national parks, hosted tire pumping events to ensure greater fuel efficiency in cars, and helped residential properties transition to energy efficient lighting.


Another example is Humanscale’s Smart Ocean chair, which incorporates almost 2 pounds of recycled fishing net material and is Living Product certified — meeting the most rigorous sustainable manufacturing criteria to date. Smart Ocean is an inventive adaptation of the legendary Diffrient Smart chair and the first chair made with recycled fishing nets.


Within our own operations, Humanscale has made many improvements to reduce our negative impact on the environment. At our largest factory, 100% of our manufacturing water is supplied by an on-site rainwater harvesting system and 85% of the electricity required for production is supplied by 2,585 solar panels. Globally, we have achieved an 85.3% waste diversion rate, successfully reduced normalized energy consumption by 41.5% and normalized greenhouse gas emissions by 63% (baseline 2011).


Since our activities are only one part of what is required to make our products, we also perform Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) to understand the impacts coming from our supply chain and to guide decisions with regard to material use and supplier selection. We have worked diligently to thoroughly research our materials and have worked with over 90% of our suppliers to improve material transparency down the supply chain. As of December 2018, Humanscale published 60% of all Declare labels and 54% of all Health Product Declarations that existed in the entire furniture industry. On top of this, Humanscale evaluates 100% of new products to ensure they contain no Chemicals of Concern. We are systematically evaluating and removing Chemicals of Concern from our existing product lines and have successfully removed PVC, Chrome 6, and HFR materials from many of our products. In addition, Humanscale’s wood tables are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and contain no added formaldehyde.


Visit Humanscale’s website here: – and please check back soon for more SHINE Spotlight posts.