Healthy Materials: HOK’s Data-Driven Product Tracking Prioritizes Human and Environmental Health

June 27, 2024
HOK's Interiors Group is revolutionizing design by pioneering a new way to integrate human health and environmental impacts into the material selection process. Learn how.

Through an innovative, data-driven approach, a dedicated team within HOK's Interiors group is pioneering a new way to integrate human health and environmental impacts into every stage of the material selection process. A dedicated team of 30 Sustainable Liaisons leads the firm's efforts to educate and empower a firm-wide network of over 300 designers across HOK’s 26 global offices. Their mission: to champion healthy, ethically sourced materials on every project.

The impact of this initiative is tangible and continues to gain momentum. Since 2021, the number of HOK projects using its Sustainable Material Tracking system has grown nearly 400% to encompass 134 projects in 2023, representing 46% of all the firm's interior work. Last year alone, HOK comprehensively assessed 5,886 materials against robust sustainability criteria:

  • 60% had rigorous Environmental Product Declarations disclosing embodied carbon impacts
  • 42% achieved stringent third-party certifications as healthy materials
  • 81% were certified as low-emitting to protect indoor air quality
  • 40% contained recycled content from circular manufacturing
  • An impressive 95% used FSC-certified wood from responsibly managed forests
  • 20% were categorized as Re-Use or Bio-Based materials

In 2024, HOK is amplifying its impact and advocacy efforts to catalyze positive change across the entire interior design profession. The firm is presenting its work at major events, including the Mindful Materials Forum and the Shaw Carpet Sustainability Leaders Workshop. Simultaneously, it is forging partnerships with leading organizations, including the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the Interior Design Council (IDC), to embed sustainability and ethics into the fundamental codes that guide interior design practice.