Herman Miller, an office furniture supplier, decided to Cradle to Cradle (C2C) design protocol implemented during the design of its mid-level office Mirra chair. The C2C protocol was created a number of environmentally friendly product development guidelines by architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart. The nature of this protocol to the waste and potentially harmful materials through the design of the product, so that at the end of its life, the raw materials could eliminate … Read more »

Herman Miller, an office furniture supplier, decided to Cradle to Cradle (C2C) design protocol implemented during the design of its mid-level office Mirra chair. The C2C protocol was created a number of environmentally friendly product development guidelines by architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart. The nature of this protocol to the waste and potentially harmful materials through the design of the product, so that at the end of its life, the raw materials could go back in either a technical or biological cycle are supplied and to eliminate from the same or other purposes. Therefore remained materials in a closed loop, eliminating the need for landfills and other toxic forms of disposal such as incineration. The case describes the C2C protocol, the details of how Herman Miller implemented during the construction of the Mirra chair C2C, and the impact of the new protocol on their internal processes: design decisions, manufacturing and supply chain management. The next decision point in the case is whether the company’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material to replace the armrests on the Mirra chair. PVC was to produce a highly toxic material and dispose of it and against the C2C protocol. However, it was the standard material for arm rests and many other parts in the production of office furniture, as it was durable, scratch resistant and inexpensive. To thermoplastic urethane (TPU), change another environmentally friendly material required for the Mirra chair armrest at least modification of a production tool, or maybe a completely new tool. Moreover, the cost of the TPU were higher than PVC. There was also uncertainty about how consistent quality of the arm would be TPU.
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from
Deishin Lee,
Lionel Bony
Source: HBS Premier Case Collection
21 pages.
Release date: 30 May 2007. Prod #: 607003-PDF-ENG
Cradle-to-Cradle Design at Herman Miller: Moving Toward Environmental Sustainability HBR case solution