Their principles became the foundation of the company, passed on from decade to decade. Its employees are its greatest asset and living these values is at the core of all that the company does, just as it was in the past.
The company received its first patent in 1914 for a steel wastebasket - a major innovation at a time when straw wastebaskets were a serious office fire hazard. That led to metal desks, and the company has led the way with product and service innovations ever since. Today, Steelcase’s portfolio of solutions addresses the three core elements of an office environment: interior architecture, furniture and technology. The company changed its name to Steelcase in 1954 and became a publicly held company in 1998.
For years, Steelcase has led the industry in Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM products from the Cradle to Cradle Innovations Institute. Certification includes stringent materials chemistry criteria which covers human and environmental health factors.
The company has nearly 60 products bearing Cradle to Cradle certification with several more in the process to become certified. Its products also include certifications, BIFMA level®, NF Environnement, Blue Angel, SCS Indoor AdvantageTM.
Steelcase leverages materials chemistry, life cycle thinking and closed-loop design thinking to minimise impact on human
and environmental health. It has screened well over 1,500 materials across more than 600 categories and multiple product lines.
For the last two years Steelcase has used a more environmentally- friendly catalyst in the polyester fabric manufacturing process, replacing antimony, a metal of concern that can bio-accumulate. In Europe, the company has switched from hexavalent chromium to trivalent chromium, a preferable alternative for chair and desk legs.
On the proactive side, the company is partnering with Sharklet Technologies to explore how wellbeing can be promoted in the workplace without the use of chemical agents. Enter Sharklet®, a nature-inspired solution modelled after natural sharkskin. Sharklet’s unique texture, comprised of an intentional pattern of millions of tiny diamonds, creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria, preventing microbial growth on surfaces.
Steelcase has completed life cycle assessments on over 35 products since 2003, and is supporting customers with a comprehensive end of use and reuse programmes, all designed to keep products out of the landfill.