Steelcase Calls for Connections, Collaboration Among Sustainability Leaders at Greenbuild 2008

November 19, 2008 – Boston, Mass. – The world is facing unprecedented and complex social and environmental sustainability issues that will require increased global collaboration to uncover possible solutions. Steelcase, an office environments manufacturer, is encouraging a dialogue on innovative approaches that can make a difference by bringing together industry advocates at the 2008 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo presented by the U.S. Green Building Council.

At the show, Steelcase is hosting Elizabeth (Liz) Ogbu, designer and project manager of Public Architecture (, and Jay Bolus, vice president of technical operations at McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), to connect and converse with attendees on critical issues like the role of the architecture and design community in serving public communities and the impact materials choice has on sustainability in the built environment. Liz and Jay are recognized by Steelcase as GreenGiants ( – people who understand that sustainability impacts people and communities, and are inspiring change through their work.

“Steelcase launched the GreenGiants program to recognize those who have made great strides in social and environmental sustainability,” said Angela Nahikian, director of global environmental strategy and programs for Steelcase. “GreenGiants serve as an inspiration for Steelcase to reach new environmental heights, with new initiatives launched this year such as the Wege Wind Energy Farm and new products, such as the collection of sustainable fabrics we’re introducing.”

Progress through Collaboration
Steelcase is partnering with its suppliers to encourage industry change with the launch of The Cogent TM Group, the most comprehensive collection of antimony-free* polyester textiles available on the market, at Greenbuild. Antimony, a heavy metal, is commonly used as a catalyst for manufacturing recycled polyester. While antimony is suspected of posing a human and environmental threat by leaching into the water supply during the manufacturing and recycling process of polyester, it can be easily replaced with other catalysts that do not contain antimony.

As part of this launch, Steelcase worked with some of its largest textile mill partners to expand their offerings. By extension, the company is encouraging the industry at large to consider the broader impact of antimony-free* textiles on future recyclability.

Additionally, Steelcase is co-sponsoring Greenbuild’s Network Garden with Renewable Choice Energy. Renewable Choice Energy will present throughout the show on the potential of harnessing wind for energy. An award-winning renewable energy and carbon offset provider, Renewable Choice was also Steelcase’s partner in the development of the Wege Wind Energy Farm sponsored by Steelcase. The Wege Wind Energy Farm in Panhandle, Texas, opened in June 2008. This is the first time a corporation has made an up-front commitment to buy all of the renewable energy credits (RECs) from a U.S. wind farm in the financing stage, and set the precedent for similar industry arrangements in the future.

*100 parts per million or less

About Steelcase Inc.
Steelcase provides furniture, services and insights to help people have a better work experience, and to help companies and organizations create inspiring spaces with a maximum impact on performance and a minimum impact on the environment. A Michigan-based company that has been serving customers for nearly a century, Steelcase leads the global office furniture industry with $3.4 billion in annual revenue.

Jeanine Holquist