Steelcase Introduces Comprehensive Line of Heavy Metal-Free Textiles at Greenbuild 2008

November 19, 2008 – Boston, Mass. – Steelcase Inc. (NYSE:SCS), a global office environments manufacturer, today unveiled the first collection of antimony-free* polyester textiles to be introduced by a furniture manufacturer, at the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo presented by the U.S. Green Building Council. Part of Steelcase’s Inspire collection, The CogentTM Group fabrics combine thoughtful design and sustainable intelligence at an affordable price point. In addition, the fabrics have received Cradle to Cradle™ Gold certification by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry.

The Cogent Group is currently comprised of three seating upholsteries and two vertical surface fabrics made of an antimony-free* polyester. Antimony, a heavy metal, is commonly used as a catalyst for manufacturing recycled polyester. While antimony is suspected of causing 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.

“In developing The Cogent Group, we were challenged to find mills with a wide selection of antimony-free yarns,” said Julie Daly, director of surface materials for Steelcase. “Over the course of the past year we worked closely with a handful of our largest mill partners and they now offer yarns in a variety of options. What we’re seeing – and are proud to be a part of – is an industry shift away from the use of antimony and the adoption of alternatives that could have less impact on people and the environment. And the more antimony-free* textiles that are used, the closer we are to offering a collection that is exclusively antimony-free* or recycled-content polyester.”

The fabric designs were created in a collaborative effort between Steelcase’s design team, its textile mill partners and Designtex – an industry leader and innovator in environmentally-friendly contract textiles. The collection incorporates a mixture of symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes, neutral and bold colors, and simple lines and patterns. The fabrics are available in a range of 10 to 13 colors at Steelcase price grades two and three.

All fabrics in The Cogent Group come with Steelcase’s five year warranty and are now available through local Steelcase dealers for Steelcase, Steelcase Wood and Turnstone brand products. Steelcase plans to add three additional antimony-free* textiles to the collection after Greenbuild.

For more information, please visit or the Steelcase booth #2004 at Greenbuild.

*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