Sustainability: Spring Cleaning for the Environment

Sustainability: Spring Cleaning for the Environment


 We always pay special attention to our partners who demonstrate an active commitment to sustainability. It’s not a litmus test by any means but it is nice to see how just many of the brands in our portfolio have actually backed up their eco-conscious words.

Steelcase is one of my favorites in that respect. They’ve recently released their sustainability report and it’s great to see how much progress they’ve made toward being a clean manufacturer. I’ll just run down some of their main points; you’ll see what I mean when I say that Steelcase is being responsible in the best way.


1. Innovative products and applications

Steelcase makes it a priority to make office chairs and desks that have a long life cycle – and can
be recycled easily after decades of use.


2. Energy use and efficiency

Now this is a good trend and an example of the huge impact a large company’s
sustainability effort can make.


3. Renewable energy

Renewable energy – like wind energy – isn’t a new idea. But recently, it’s become easier than
ever to feasibly implement it. Steelcase has taken advantage of that availability to make their
footprint even smaller. And for a giant, they tread very lightly.


4. Transportation and packaging

In Steelcase’s approach to sustainability, there are two things that have made a striking difference in
the weight reduction battle. The first is that, as often as possible, large items are shipped on wooden
pallets. That means no cartons, no paper waste, and reusable pallets. Oh, and let’s not forget that
pallets make it possible to ship more furniture per load. The second difference-maker is a switch from
heavy to light cardboard when cartons are needed. Well-designed interior packaging makes it
possible to keep the furniture safe while reducing paper waste at the same time.


5. Waste reduction

There’s no easier way to say it than this: Steelcase’s sales are trending up, and the amount
of waste they produce is trending down. That defies common sense but that trend toward
waste reduction is exactly what should be the case everywhere, from private homes to
industrial facilities.


6. Water conservation

An improved pretreatment process for cleaning metal parts; wastewater from all facilities discharged
to local water treatment systems; stormwater collection systems for lawn irrigation. In total, those
systems have added up to a 75% reduction in Steelcase’s water consumption.


I love to see numbers like the ones in those graphs! It means that even the behemoths out there – Steelcase is the largest office furniture manufacturer in the world – want to do things the right way. It’s not just about the bottom line for them, though the reduction in waste also means cost savings for them in the long run. But, in reading their report, it was obvious to me that they really want to do what’s best for the planet, including things like eliminating all PVC in their products, which they’re working towards.

We’re happy to offer Steelcase chairs like the Leap Chair, Think Chair, and Reply Chair not to mention all the incredibly solid desks and tables they make. We love that, by our sales of their products, we are participating in the creation of a better way to do business.

You could call it business with a conscience. But we’ll call it just plain Smart.


Mark Rico

I work under the official-sounding, completely made-up title of Marketing Content Specialist. That's simply because "Dude Who Writes Stuff" would make a lame title. Oh, and my co-workers don't let me make the Chewbacca noise in the office. For some reason it bothers them. But that's the first sound that comes to my mind when something deserves a reaction. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about me based on that.