Can we manufacture without toxics and carbon?
Gabe Wing and Thaddeus Owen are sustainability experts who execute the ambitious 2030 goals for MillerKnoll.
Join us in conversation as they share stories about the challenges and successes in their mission to make design healthier and more sustainable. They will talk about their experiences with removing flame retardants from products, challenges with using recycled plastics, and the hot topic of PFAS chemicals used in products.
“Our 2030 sustainability goals... empower our teams from across the globe to make decisions that contribute to positive environmental impact.” - Gabe Wing
MillerKnoll, one of the world’s largest and most influential design manufacturers, has ambitious goals and faces complex obstacles toward a more sustainable future.
Last April, the company announced a series of sustainability goals that will affect the company’s procedures from product design to building operations. By 2030, MillerKnoll plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 50%, eliminate single use plastics while significantly reducing all waste, to increase use of sustainably sourced materials and to use 50% more recycled content.
What does it take to realize these goals on such a massive scale? What are the most effective routes towards minimizing carbon emissions and the use of toxics in design manufacturing? What are the obstacles that companies face when building towards a more sustainable future?
As Director of Sustainability for MillerKnoll Inc., Gabe is responsible for leading MillerKnoll’s global sustainability efforts and integrating sustainable design principles into the company’s innovation processes. Gabe has played a vital role in developing the company’s environmental policies since he joined the company in 2001. Gabe works closely with materials suppliers to support the development of innovative products that maximize positive contributions to people and the planet. In addition, he leads CEU-accredited training sessions for architects, designers, and engineers. Gabe received a B.S. degree from the University of Michigan and an M.S. from Michigan State University, both in chemical engineering. From 2002 to 2010, he was a member of the Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group of the U.S. Green Building Council. Gabe was appointed to Michigan’s Green Chemistry Roundtable in 2008.
Thaddeus is the Manager of Global Product Stewardship Team for MillerKnoll Company. Previously he was the Chief Sustainability Engineer for Herman Miller. Thaddeus began his journey outdoors, camping and fishing as a boy in the Adirondack mountains and forests of Central NY. After a decade spent developing pharmaceutical products, he couldn’t face another day adding terrible ingredients to children’s medicine. He shifted gears and engineered a successful transition into what he does now - keeping toxic chemicals out of products we all use every day. He also finds ways to incorporate movement, nature, and sunshine into his work environment. Thaddeus spends his free time experimenting with and studying nature, sunshine, and EMF (electric and magnetic fields) and educates others on how to become optimally healthy. He gave a TEDx talk on the power of using special glasses to block blue light and how it impacts our health.
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