"HERMAN MILLER Digs Green Things"--No, it's not the title of the latest Steven King novel. It's the tagline on a Herman Miller print advertisement that reflects the Zeeland, Mich.-based furniture maker's commitment to the environment.
That commitment wasn't created as politically correct copy in some ad agency's conference room. Rather, it's been part of the corporate culture for decades.
"Back in the '50s, [founder] D.J. DePree wrote into the company mandate that we should be good stewards of the environment," says Paul Murray, environmental affairs manager for Herman Miller (which was named after DePree's father-in-law). "That was long before the environment became a popular social issue."
This commitment to environmental stewardship has "set the stage for good employee morale," Murray says. "People here feel good about where they work." Employees are directly involved in setting the company's environmental course through participation in Environmental Quality Action Teams. Thanks largely to its EQAT, the Zeeland facility has increased waste recycling from 5 million pounds in 1994 to 22 million pounds last year, which has not only helped the environment but significantly slashed disposal costs.
Herman Miller employs 9,000 people at 15 sites worldwide. --Bill Gillette