Knoll and the Environment

"Today, Knoll continues to focus on three key environmental areas: climate change; third-party certification and design for the environment, which sets standards for environmentally-responsible materials, products and processes. And we are continuing to set industry-leading standards for sustainable design."

– Andrew Cogan, Knoll CEO

Knoll and Sustainable Design

Sustainability is a process that embodies a vision for the future. It is measured by what is sometimes called “the triple bottom line”—the social, economic and environmental outcomes of business on people, economic competitiveness and the natural world.

For more than a quarter of a century, we have acted on our commitment to sustainability in the design and manufacture of products for the workplace. We have established ambitious standards and we measure our performance against them.

Climate Change

We work on meaningful approaches to conserve energy, promote the use of renewable energy sources and divert waste from landfill. Through our Energy Management Program we have established an energy baseline for manufacturing processes; energy conservation techniques; a framework for evaluating energy reduction opportunities; guidelines for capital investments in energy projects; energy pricing and supply risk reduction protocols; programs to increase energy efficiency in Knoll products; and a transportation energy reduction program.

Our investment since 2004 in energy efficiency initiatives and infrastructure has topped $3.0 million. Following our success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions at our manufacturing facilities, exceeding our goal by 23%, we have redefined our carbon reduction strategy and joined the Carbon Disclosure Project, which commits to further reductions and public disclosure.

Our carbon disclosure reduction strategy focuses on many elements: product design in tandem with lifecycle assessment (LCA) methodology to aid in the selection of materials; facilities design with concert with LEED® guidelines in constructing, renovating and retrofitting facilities; and supply chain metrics for CO2 reduction against processing steel, processing wood and assembling products.

Energy conservation and recovery programs complement these activities. These conservation initiatives include lighting upgrades, lighting controls and process/equipment improvements. On the production end, we achieve energy recovery by diverting organic waste, primarily wood, that is not recyclable from landfill to energy-from-waste facilities.

Design for the Environment

In everything we design and manufacture, we focus on environmentally responsible materials, products and – and we build the infrastructure to strategically support sustainability in all aspects of our operation.

Our product design and development activities are governed by Knoll Design for the Environment (DFE) policies and procedures, including a Product Commercialization process in which stringent SMaRT criteria are embedded. DFE requires a product to meet target environmental standards relating to materials, material content and production processes. Additionally, documentation is required for materials on post-consumer and post-industrial recycled contents.

All Knoll products undergo Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) during design and development to measure potential environmental impacts. We structure our LCA process in three phases: Cradle-to-Gate, which looks at supply chain inputs; Gate-to-Gate, which looks at our wood, metal and assembly processes; and Gate-to-Grave, which looks at what happened to a product at the end of its useful life.

Third Party Certification

We have been an industry pioneer in advocating and submitting our products for independent third party certification. We believe that respected third parties provide the most impartial and trustworthy foundation for broad compliance.

Our partner programs include: USGBC (US Green Building Council): LEED (Leadership in Environmental Design); FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council); SMaRT© (Sustainable Materials Rating Technology) from MTS (Market Transformation to Sustainability); level® certification, a BIFMA (the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association) program certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS);ISO 14001 (International Organization for Standardization); and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).


The level standard is a voluntary product standard developed by BIFMA, the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association, to support safe, healthy and sustainable workplace environments. The program establishes prerequisites, requires third party certification including audits of manufacturing plants and mandates annual reviews to maintain certifications. Certification is awarded at three levels: Entry level 1 (32-44 points); level 2 (45-62 points) and level 3 (63 -90 points).

We submit our products for level 3 certification, the highest rating, and we are proud that we have achieved level 3 certification for all of our principal workplace product lines.

Open Plan and Private Office Furniture: Antenna Workspaces, AutoStrada, Dividends Horizon, Equity, Morrison, Reff Profiles

Seating: Chadwick, Generation by Knoll, Life, Moment, ReGeneration by Knoll, MultiGeneration by Knoll


The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) is the international standard setting organization for defining and measuring a well-managed forest and providing traceability though a chain of custody certification. Knoll FSC certification (FSC® C028824) ensures that Knoll products bearing the FSC mark are manufactured with wood from forests that protect environmental, social and economic values. FSC principles represent the industry’s most rigorous standards of forest stewardship.

Our FSC Certified Standard Program covers all general office plan open systems, casegoods and tables, with the exception of certain products from the KnollStudio Collection. The standard applies to the core of all Knoll products with laminate and domestic cherry, maple, oak and walnut.


SMaRT (Sustainable Materials Rating Technology) from MTS (Market Transformation to Sustainability) is a comprehensive sustainability standard covering areas. The standard encompasses Public Health and Environment; Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; Bio-based or Recycled Materials and Innovations in Manufacturing.

Knoll has achieved SMaRT certifications for the Generation family of chairs; Chadwick, Life and Moment chairs as well as Calibre storage and Template workplace furniture.

Full Circle®

Full Circle is an exclusive resource recovery program developed with ANEW, a non-profit organization dedicated to extending the life cycle of surplus furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E), architectural materials, and building assets in an economically, socially and environmentally responsible way.

We have completed 36 Full Circle projects, diverting over 1700 tons of used furniture and other items from landfill through matches to community charities, recycling and energy from-waste. Projects range from a major financial institution, to a large beverage company, to a major utility company,as well as universities and municipalities.

The Full Circle partners with Coventa Energy, which owns and/or operates more than 40 Energy-from-Waste facilities in the U.S. that produce lean, renewable energy and recycle metals.

Learn more


Environment Downloads and Documents


Environmental, Health and Safety Annual Reports

GREENGUARD Certifications

LEED® Credits

Illustrated Design Documents

SMaRT© Certification Summaries

level™ Summaries