Impact Study: Steelcase

Company narrative

This case study details the findings of the analysis of a single Cradle to Cradle Certified product compared to a non-certified equivalent. The document is one of ten examples intended to support the Technical Report which provides more information on the framework developed and all findings of the pilot study across a range of products and companies. This document introduces the Steelcase company narrative and product analysis of the Cradle to Cradle Certified SILVER NodeTM chair, compared to a hypothetical polyvinyl chloride (PVC) based chair, that may have been produced had certification requirements not been considered during design of the product. This identifies and describes impact improvements in the fields of business, society and the environment, related to Steelcase’s pursuit of Cradle to Cradle Certified product certification.

An overview of the methodology is given on page 14 with a more detailed discussion of the approach available in the supporting Technical Report. The research findings (page 19) review work done by the company to optimize product performance across the five quality categories of material health, material reutuilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness, and its effect on business performance. Through product optimization, Steelcase improved material composition to remove PVC from the product and replace it with polypropylene, optimizing material health through the use of safer, recyclable materials.

Steelcase does not manufacture the Node chair (though it does manufacture other Steelcase products), and therefore the final point of manufacture (the Tier 1 manufacturer, Ventura Manufacturing Inc) is taken into consideration for review. To meet the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard, Ventura has adopted water management principles, Principles of the UN Global Compact, and has worked with Steelcase to create a policy for exploring energy efficiency and alternative energy sources corporate wide. 

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