Supporting the Next Generation of Sustainability Champions With Real-World Experience
Project | June 27, 2023
Over the past decade, Global has partnered with Seneca College to collaborate with and mentor the next generation of sustainability leaders. Recently, Global welcomed students from the Project Management Environment (PME) course at Seneca College.
The eight-month graduate certificate program prepares students for project development and management careers in environmental and civil engineering industries. This course equips students with two essential skills necessary for creating sustainable change: 1) Gaining an understanding of how to measure and mitigate risk to our land, air, and water; and 2) Acquiring the organizational and management skills to lead projects and people.
The students will collaborate with Global to analyze some of the core materials used in Global seating, including plywood, MDF and hardboard; powder-coated and chromed steel; nylon and glass-filled nylon; and polyurethane, polypropylene and polyester.
"Our work will hopefully give greater insight into the prevalence of these chemicals so we can minimize or mitigate their impacts and be a catalyst for implementing further improvements in the manufacturing process."
– Hannah Ramirez
Examining their impact on the environment in the context of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), the analyses include everything from determining the carbon dioxide production at every stage, from extraction through manufacturing, to measuring water impacts such as acidification (which decreases ocean pH), and eutrophication (which contributes to harmful algae blooms).
The data collected will be used to create LCAs for Global seating products, beginning with Duet.
Through the study, the students will acquire real-world, hands-on experience. At the same time, Global benefits from fresh perspectives from a younger generation, many of whom already hold a degree in another field of expertise.
This group also includes many international students, bringing diverse perspectives and a different worldview.
“We will learn together. [...] Our group will have some successes and could even have some failures, and that’s important too, as advancing sustainability is most often an iterative process that requires refinement as we move along.”
– Heather Sherman
“Our work will hopefully give greater insight into the prevalence of these chemicals so we can minimize or mitigate their impacts and be a catalyst for implementing further improvements in the manufacturing process,” says student Hannah Ramirez.
As an international furniture manufacturer and distributor that owns and operates the majority of its supply chain, Global has unique control over the manufacturing process from beginning to end and a greater ability to implement change and adapt as new awareness and knowledge is acquired.
“We will learn together,” explains Heather Sherman, Director of Sustainability at Global. “Our group will have some successes and could even have some failures, and that’s important too, as advancing sustainability is most often an iterative process that requires refinement as we move along.”
For Hannah and her fellow students, hands-on experience like this is imperative in understanding the product’s life cycle, manufacturing process and environmental impact. “Global has been so helpful by opening their company and manufacturing process for us to learn. It’s wonderful to actually get to work on a real project with real data. It provides a good example of what Project Management for the Environment is really about,” she says.
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