Steelcase and McDonough Braungart to Collaborate on Environmental Product Design

Steelcase and McDonough Braungart to Collaborate on Environmental Product Design

Steelcase Inc., a global office environments manufacturer, has reached an agreement with McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) to collaborate on cradle-to-cradle environmental design and strategy. MBDC, a leading product and process design consultancy, is world renowned for its sustainable architectural and design principles.

Steelcase has previously worked with MBDC on the development of its new Think chair. Think utilizes MBDC's materials classification protocol and uses only materials deemed by MBDC as safe to the environment. Additionally, MBDC has consulted with Designtex, a Steelcase company, to develop the William McDonough Collections of fabrics.

Steelcase and MBDC have identified initial goals for their newest collaboration. First, MBDC will conduct a material assessment of the top ten materials used in Steelcase products. By benchmarking products using MBDC's cradle-to-cradle criteria, Steelcase aims to eliminate waste and optimize products and processes so that the materials they use are healthy for humans and the environment. Additionally, the company plans to use the new processes to develop products that can be perpetually recovered and reused.

"During our history of working with Steelcase and its design partnership companies, we have appreciated their desire to continually raise the bar and inspire environmental thinking and leadership within the industrial sector," said William McDonough, of MBDC. "We are pleased to work Steelcase to further define its environmental design strategy, and to provide tools that will enable Steelcase's designers and engineers to create sustaining products."

Steelcase will utilize MBDC's technical expertise to enhance its knowledge about its materials' characteristics, implement a materials scoring tool to facilitate the selection of optimum materials, and identify innovative product design opportunities. MBDC will serve as a materials expert resource enabling Steelcase product teams to make informed decisions in the product design process.

"Steelcase, renowned for its product quality, applies a broad definition of quality to its products, which includes assessing the potential human and environmental impact across entire product life cycles," said David Rinard, director of environmental performance for Steelcase. "Through this collaboration with MBDC, we will enhance our existing product design process and further define our corporate strategy with an eye on continuous improvement and environmental sustainability."

This announcement follows the company's June introduction of the Steelcase Environmental Partnership, a corporate-wide environmental program designed to help companies determine and implement the best strategy for Steelcase products at the end of their useful life.