December 11, 2020
The Global Impact of Material Transparency
Humanscale shows that material transparency and eliminating toxic ingredients have impacts that reach beyond the consumer.
Humanscale was a sponsor of the Metropolis Perspective: Sustainability 2020 Symposium.
We all look to ingredients labels on food to see what exactly is in our lunch. Similarly, transparency labels for furniture help consumers understand how healthy their products are—for them and communities around the world. There are many toxic materials that are still commonly used in our industry. These materials are not only unsafe for end consumers, but they also have serious impacts on our environment and communities where the products are made.
This is why, at Humanscale, we are committed to material transparency. We’ve published transparency labels for 84 percent of our products – more than any other company in the industry. We are also working to consider the ingredients in our products and eliminate harmful Red List chemicals. Toxic substances, like PVC, Chrome 6, formaldehyde, and many more are commonly used in the furniture industry and not only have a devastating impact on the health of our planet, but also on the health of poor communities around the world. While some of these chemicals can be harmful to the end user, others, like Chrome 6 and PVC are toxic to workers who make and recycle products.
Removing Red List chemicals from our products without compromising the durability, functionality, and aesthetics that are hallmarks of Humanscale often means thinking more creatively. Whether it’s redesigning the Chrome 6 finish out all of our products, phasing out stain-resistant coatings that contain PFOAs, or working with a supplier to develop a clay-based powder coat that contains no PTFE, we are always looking to innovate. Our goal is to eliminate hazardous chemicals from our products and production process, even if it is more difficult or expensive.
We strongly believe that when consumers are empowered to make informed decisions, they can help change our industry by driving all manufacturers to remove chemicals of concern. As material transparency becomes the norm, our hope is that the industry and consumers can work together to advocate for more transparency, fewer toxic materials, and healthier environment for all.