Sustainability Spotlight

There’s growing awareness that protecting natural resources and enhancing people’s lives is core to the future of the human race as well as a company’s ability to survive and thrive in a changing, challenging world.

Promises Made, Promises Kept, New Promises: Corporate Sustainability Report Tracks Progress, Shares Vision

In an increasingly interconnected world, there’s growing awareness that protecting natural resources and enhancing people’s lives is core to the future of the human race as well as a company’s ability to survive and thrive in a changing, challenging world.

“Steelcase was founded on the belief that business is a human enterprise—and, as a part of that, a company devoted to sustainable business practices,” says Jim Hackett, CEO. “There are many opportunities that offer a time for a company to reflect, recharge and refocus. We took the opportunity of our 100th anniversary to do just that—to reflect on our sustainability accomplishments and dream big about the future.”

Earlier this year, Steelcase released its most comprehensive corporate sustainability report ever. Steelcase is one of only 40% of the companies globally that voluntarily reports its environmental and social impacts every year. Titled, “+Promise,” Steelcase’s report documents the company’s global environmental and social practices throughout the world in the context of promises made to customers, partners, communities, employees and the environment. It also documents the new promises the company is making and how it will fulfill these through enhanced governance practices.

This year’s online report includes a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Index, which reports on more than 120 key performance indicators in 10 categories that range from product responsibility to labor practices and human rights.

Browsing the report, readers can learn about Steelcase’s sustainability efforts through stories about Steelcase people worldwide who are transforming the future. Just one example from Europe: Rather than waiting for a new international standard to be released, Steelcase partnered with the leading environmental life cycle assessment company Quantis and other corporate leaders to build a global water footprinting methodology, using the company’s products as a case study. Why participate? Because water conservation is more important than ever, and the tools for managing and measuring water need to significantly improve. By evaluating the future integration of water criteria into life cycle assessments, Steelcase can create new guidelines for upcoming product development projects.

“We also plan to expand our sustainability practice and reporting capabilities to capture metrics for additional areas and refine existing metrics for global accuracy,” says Angela Nahikian, director of Global Environmental Sustainability. “We are taking an intentional step forward, working to elevate sustainability as a lens for innovation on a global scale.”

Beyond Steelcase’s operational performance reflected in the stories in the report, the company acknowledges that helping customers achieve their sustainability goals is one of the greatest opportunities for delivering large-scale value and impact.

By sharing research-based insights and offering innovative products and solutions, Steelcase can help organizations get the most out of their real estate while also supporting their employee’s performance and wellbeing. The results are worth the effort: an efficient real estate footprint means less unnecessary construction, less energy used and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Most important, it empowers workers to do their best work.

“We believe we can harness the power of our actions and assets to make enduring positive change. Our commitment to sustainable practices ensures we contribute to the social, economic and environmental conditions that allow people to reach their full potential,” says Hackett. “Our sustainability initiatives not only benefit the communities where we live and work, they also advance the fitness of our company. They are a motivating force in driving innovation and transformation.”

Environmental Impact Reductions Between Calendar Year 2006 and 2011

37% reduction greenhouse Gas emissions 100% of electricity purchased from renewable energy credits in offices in Paris and Strasbourg, France 25% of electricity use in the U.S.
54% reduction water consumption $4.7 million donated by Steelcase and The Steelcase Foundation to support communities
23% reduction waste + materials recycled 5,361 Hours employee volunteer service donated globally
53% reduction voc emissions

Steelcase joins Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, General Mills and others in 2013 Business Roundtable Sustainability Report

This spring Steelcase was included in Business Roundtable’s 2013 sustainability report, “Create, Grow, Sustain: How Companies Are Doing Well by Doing Good.” Released in April, the report features narratives from 147 CEOs at world-leading companies who discuss how their companies are improving the quality of life for millions of people around the world through their sustainability efforts. In addition to Steelcase, invited participants include Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, General Mills, Johnson Controls, SAP, Xerox and other well-known and respected organizations across a diversity of industries.

“Providing workplace environments to the world’s leading organizations, Steelcase is uniquely positioned for large-scale impact,” Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett states in the report. “We are proud of what we’ve accomplished within our company, but our greatest potential for impact is helping customers achieve their sustainable business objectives. The work we do with our customers and insights gained from research drive innovation and improve performance.”

Explore the report at


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