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Protocol and Preliminary Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory Steelcase, Inc.

CSS Publication Number

Steelcase, Inc. (NYSE: SCS) is the global leader in the office environments industry, with headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.2 Founded in 1912, Steelcase serves customers through a network of more than 900 independent dealers supported by approximately 14,000 employees worldwide, and manufacturing facilities in over 35 locations around the world. Fiscal 2005 revenue was US$ 2.6 billion.

Since 1912 Steelcase has adopted environmental stewardship as one of their core corporate values and has integrated environmental criteria in all of their business activities:

  •  Products
  •  Activities (manufacturing, facilities management)
  •  Services (packaging, distribution, installation)
  •  People (employees, customers, community members)

Overall, the company has maintained its environmental ethic by focusing on reducing their ecological footprint through proactive strategies in pollution prevention, energy efficiency, and material intensity and waste reduction. In 2001 Steelcase wood furniture plant in Michigan became the first LEED certified manufacturing facility in the world. In 2003 Steelcase became a nearly VOC-free manufacturer. Currently, two plants in USA and six plants EU are ISO 14001 certified. The company plans to have all of its manufacturing facilities ISO 14001 certified by the end of 2008.

Recognizing its role as a multinational, global corporation, Steelcase participates in a number of strategic environmental and socially responsible programs in addition to maintaining a strong presence in industry-led and government-sponsored partnership programs. Since 1993 the company has partnered with McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry's (MBDC) to expand the environmental assessment of its products. In 2005 Steelcase became the first office furniture company to receive the new MBDC Cradle to Cradle™ Product Certification. The silver level certification recognizes Steelcase's Think chair, which is comprised of 99% recyclable content and is made of up to 41% recycled materials, for its implementation of ecologically intelligent materials and cradle-to-cradle product design. The C2C methodology builds on the successful “Design for the Environment” (DfE) process that examines 19 human and environmental health criteria.

In addition, Steelcase has formed strategic partnerships with the Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS) at the University of Michigan and with the University of Denmark to develop industry-leading life-cycle analysis (LCA) metrics. In 2005 CSS research assistant Bernhard A. Dietz delivered a master’s thesis on life cycle assessment of environmental impacts of three office furniture systems. More LCA studies of other Steelcase products will be conducted in the future as Steelcase has begun to incorporate life cycle thinking into its design and manufacturing processes. Finally, many of Steelcase’s systems, seating, storage, and architectural products have achieved GREENGUARD certification for indoor air quality. The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute™ (GEI) has established the GREENGUARD Certification Program™, the world's only independent, third-party testing program for low-emitting products and materials. Steelcase supports the International Design Center for the Environment along with 21voluntary programs with partners from federal, state and local governments, corporations, NGOs and industry associations, including:

  •  EPA Climate Leaders Program
  •  EPA Waste Wise Program
  •  EPA Green Power Partnership (founding member)
  •  EPA Green Suppliers Network Program
  •  BIFMA – Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (Indoor Air Quality Committee; Government and Environmental Affairs Committee)
  •  West Michigan Clean Air Coalition
  •  Air and Waste Management Association
  •  West Michigan Environmental Action Council
  •  West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum
  •  U.S. Green Building Council
Research Areas
Consumer Products & Packaging
Food Systems and Consumer Products
Publication Type
Master's Thesis
Full Citation
Shanin, Dimitri A. 2006. Protocol and Preliminary Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory Steelcase, Inc. Master's Thesis, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: 1-45.