November 21, 2016
Herman Miller Partners with General Motors and Green Standards for Landfill-Free Solution to Office Transformation


  • Herman Miller rePurpose program will divert more than 2,000 tons of GM furniture and office supplies from landfill
  • Repurposed office assets expected to result in $1 million in charitable in-kind donations to 100 community organizations in Michigan
  • rePurpose a unique and industry leading solution creating a triple bottom line effect for companies, communities, and the environment

Global design manufacturer Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) has partnered with General Motors (GM) and Green Standards on a one-of-a-kind sustainability initiative to repurpose tens of thousands of pieces of office furniture and equipment into $1 million of in-kind donations. Through the Herman Miller rePurpose program, GM will divert from landfill nearly all existing furniture, equipment, and supplies resulting from renovations occurring at its Technical Center in Warren, the Proving Ground in Milford, and global headquarters in Detroit. The program is expected to benefit about 100 Michigan-based community organizations, with a focus on Detroit, over the next two years.

The Herman Miller rePurpose Program is a unique and industry-leading solution for managing surplus corporate assets through a combination of resale, recycling, and donation. Managed by Toronto-based environmental firm Green Standards, rePurpose diverts no-longer-needed office furniture and supplies from landfill and transforms them into valuable in-kind donations to nonprofit community organizations.

“Herman Miller has always believed in doing what is right rather than what is easy, and rePurpose makes it possible to do both,” said Michael Ramirez, Senior Vice President of People, Places, and Administration. “By partnering with companies like General Motors, we create a better world by reducing our collective environmental footprint and positively impacting our communities.”

General Motors is the first metro Detroit-based automaker to partner with rePurpose on a large-scale, multi-site campus decommission project. To date, GM has diverted 550 tons of office material from the landfill through the rePurpose program, equal to growing nearly 46,000 tree seedlings for 10 years, or offsetting electricity use from nearly 250 homes for one year. Over its lifetime, the program is estimated to divert more than 2,000 tons of material. The multiyear project has the potential to expand across the country.

“We view waste as just a resource out of place,” said David Tulauskas, Sustainability Director at General Motors. “This reuse program enables us to reduce our environmental footprint while making a positive contribution to our community.”

The partnership between GM and the Herman Miller rePurpose program resulted from GM’s $1 billion investment in its Warren Technical Center campus, announced in May 2015. Construction at the Vehicle Engineering Center, among several other buildings there, includes extensive office upgrades such as new carpet, furniture, equipment, and an open work environment to foster employee collaboration, idea sharing, faster problem-solving, and more.


Among the first beneficiaries of the rePurpose program is Cody High School in Detroit, with whom GM has been closely involved over the last six years. In addition to furniture and equipment, employee volunteers from GM, Herman Miller, and Green Standards will undertake a three-room makeover to enhance the educational learning experience of students and faculty. Enhancements to the new multipurpose and parent/teacher spaces will include painting, drywall repair, and floor refinishing, among other projects. The rooms are scheduled to be completed next spring.

According to estimates based on EPA data, up to 8.5 million tons of office assets end up in landfills in the US annually. When companies partner with the Herman Miller rePurpose program, 99 percent of their product is diverted from landfills. Since Herman Miller launched the program in 2009, rePurpose has diverted more than 27,000 tons of product from landfill and generated $18 million in charitable in-kind donations.

About Herman Miller, Inc.
Herman Miller is a globally recognized provider of furnishings and related technologies and services. Headquartered in West Michigan, the global company has relied on innovative design for over 100 years to solve problems for people wherever they work, live, learn, and heal. Herman Miller’s designs are part of museum collections worldwide, and the company is a past recipient of the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. Known and respected for its leadership in corporate social responsibility, Herman Miller has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the past 12 years, and has earned the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s top rating in its Corporate Equality Index for the past nine years. In fiscal 2016, the company generated $2.26 billion in revenue and employed nearly 8,000 people worldwide. Herman Miller trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MLHR.

About General Motors
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at