Steelcase, a manufacturer of office furniture, has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions 49 percent since 2001, and its water consumption is down 64 percent over the same period, according to the firm’s corporate responsibility report.
Additionally, Steelcase has reduced its waste by 71 percent since 2001.
In its manufacturing operations and products, the company has reduced volatile organic compound emissions by 95 percent. The company produced fewer than 20 tons of VOCs in 2008, down from about 1,200 tons in 2001.
The company also is reshaping the way its products are packaged, with packaging engineers working alongside product designers from the early stages. Whereas previously the firm adhered to a “one chair, one carton” strategy, it now is developing improved packaging options.
Now, half of all seating products from its Kentwood, Mich., plant ship without cartons, and 30 percent less packaging is needed for larger systems such as c:scape, an integrated furniture and media solution designed for small groups. Thus, about 50 percent less cubic space is needed in transport.
Steelcase and Purdue University are collaborating on a study to cut ten years from the growth cycle of specific trees and improve their yields. Trees harvested prior to maturation release more carbon into the air, according to press materials.
In the company’s operations, it has achieved LEED gold certification in four facilities: Coalesse Chicago, Steelcase Chicago, Steelcase Worklab in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Steelcase Washington, D.C.