Steelcase Think® Chair First to Achieve Highest Level™ Certification to New Bifma e3 Standard

June 1, 2009 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Steelcase Think® chair is the first product to receive level™ 3 certification to the new Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) e3 sustainability standard. Think was independently certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). Level™ 3 certification is the highest level of achievement possible in this BIFMA certification program.

Manufacturers can only achieve level™ certification from a participating third party, such as SCS, which meets rigorous level™ criteria for certification bodies and assesses products against the specified BIFMA standard. The e3 standard represents BIFMA’s first multi-attribute sustainability standard specifically for furniture.

BIFMA gathered a diverse group of stakeholders to help develop the sustainability standard to distinguish environmentally preferable business and institutional furniture. The standard has multiple conformance levels, i.e. levels 1, 2, or 3 with level™ 3 being the highest. Products are certified using a point system that encompasses both product and facility characteristics and environmentally-friendly corporate policies.

“This is an outstanding achievement that honors the strong sustainability design aspects of Think and is a reflection of Steelcase’s commitment to designing for the environment,” said Jim Keane, president, Steelcase North America. “No other chair has been so carefully considered with regard to its impact on the environment in all stages of product lifecycle. The steps taken during the development of Think have led the way for other products.”

“Steelcase’s ability to achieve level™3 certification is a testament to their longstanding commitment to sustainability and sustainable product design,” Tom Reardon, executive director, BIFMA noted. “It is no simple achievement.”

“It’s gratifying to see how all of our work in materials chemistry, life cycle assessment and end of life strategies for our products contributed to this level™ 3 certification,” Keane noted. “All of our future level™ product certifications will build on our longstanding sustainable product development and business practices.”

The Think chair is a high performance chair that was designed for people and the environment. During its development, Steelcase documented the life cycle impacts of Think from its raw material estate through manufacturing processes to end of life. Weighing only 32 pounds, Think uses less material than comparable chairs. It disassembles in five minutes with common hand tools, is comprised of up to 37 percent recycled content, and is up to 98 percent recyclable at end of life.

In addition to Think, Steelcase also announced level™ certification for its Leap®, Move®, Amia®, and Siento® seating, Answer® system, and Universal storage products.

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 $3.2 billion in annual revenue (FY09). Learn more

Jeanine Holquist