become an honouree of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards which commend
the businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that work to flatten the curve when it comes
to the climate crisis as well as social injustice and economic inequality around the world.
Design with Environment in Mind, Humanscale’s comprehensive initiative, ensures the company’s robust sustainability philosophy is deeply embedded in the research and design process for all of its products. A panel of esteemed designers, venture capitalists, thinkers, social entrepreneurs and Fast Company editors awarded the programme as a finalist in the Art & Design category as it showcases how design can be a powerful tool to off-set environmental footprints.
Humanscale’s Net Positive philosophy drives the company to consider how it can have a positive impact through its products. To achieve innovation that is both useful and sustainable, the team is constantly challenging themselves to rethink the way it operates. For example, Humanscale’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Jane Abernethy, recently challenged the Humanscale Design Studio to explore a new way to design a stool — one of the simplest pieces of furniture — by using three different sustainable approaches as the inspiration for the design: biomimicry, circular economy and biofabrication. Designers held educational sessions that explored each approach which resulted in original prototypes: stool inspired by the structure and functionality of a deep-sea sponge, a stool made entirely of materials classified as waste, and lastly, a stool comprised of grown materials, mycelium.
“Our environmental philosophy informs decisions across the company, from design & engineering to marketing and operations, and even the suppliers and third parties we partner with,” says Jane Abernethy, Humanscale’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “By sharing our explorations and learnings from our programme, Design with the Environment in Mind, we hope to inspire other manufacturers to operate under higher standards and to lead with true purpose, creating products that bring real value and are in the best interest of all stakeholders and the planet.”
Stephanie Mehta, Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company echoes this sentiment, “There seems no better time to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, resources, and, in some cases, their scale to tackle society’s biggest problems. Our journalists, under the leadership of senior editor Morgan Clendaniel, have uncovered some of the smartest and most inspiring projects of the year.”