The relationship forged with McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry has been a potent catalyst for inspiration and innovation. Though Steelcase already had a strong legacy of environmental sustainability, President and CEO Jim Hackett immediately understood the importance of this new way of thinking - to society, our customers and our company. He had a vision for the role Steelcase should play. As this vision percolated throughout the company, the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and methodologies became a powerful, clarifying lens for innovation, changing how we would design and manufacture products for more positive impact from that time forward.
The impact is evident and the stories are many. Some are headliner product stories, innovations that raised the bar for sustainable products throughout our industry, like our Think® chair, launched in 2004 as the first product to earn Cradle to Cradle certification. Think was carefully designed with every stage of its lifecycle in mind, including easy disassembly with common hand tools for refurbishing or recycling. It became a global best-seller, one of our most popular seating products.
The embedded innovation and the insights we’ve gained in pursuing a deep understanding the materials chemistry and the Cradle to Cradle impacts of our products have rewarded our company with a broad portfolio of C2C certifications. Our certifications are tangible evidence of the commitment to the work our developers do every day. They are a reflection of the added value we provide to our customers and the importance we place on preserving the potential of people and society. Most importantly, we have come to know that creating sustainable value in the 21st century isn’t just about using less. It’s also about creating more— more opportunities, more innovation, more capacity for positive change. Simply stated, the things we’ve learned as a result of our early relationship with Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart, extending today to the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, has driven us to become a more sustainable, innovative, fit and relevant company. It has changed us, and continues to change us, profoundly
and for the better.