Center Stage Podcast

Steelcase tackles the circular economy, one 'bite' at a time

"Even though we’ve been working a very long time to design our products such that they can be taken apart at the end of life, and the careful material choices that we make, the deep chemistry work we do and life cycle assessments, designing for a circular economy is still different," said Angela Nahikian, director of global sustainability at Steelcase. 

She spoke with Dan Dicks, Steelcase's director of global end-of-use services, about the office furnishing manufacturer's now eight-year "long road" towards a circular economy strategy.

Moving the needle on circularity is about "systems thinking, radical efficiency, busting through silos and innovation," said panel moderator Joel Makower. 

In order to create positive change on a massive scale, the company partnered with influencers beyond the sustainability department to develop circular lifecycles for its products, which are more "performance-based than transaction-based," Nahikian said.

Dicks said the focus on circular economy began when Steelcase was embarking on its centennial anniversary. 

"We were creating a service where a product used to be," he said. To accomplish this, "you have to pick what's important to you ... one bite at a time." 

Despite challenges along the way, Nahikian said it's a great time for businesses to embrace circular economy: "It's going to get more exciting from here."

Watch a video of the entire video of the session from GreenBiz 17 here.

Stay connected

Find all of our CenterStage episodes here, and subscribe to it here on iTunes.

If you like CenterStage, check out our weekly GreenBiz 350 podcast, and subscribe to it here on iTunes.

Technical direction for GreenBiz 350 by Stephanie May Joyce.