Steelcase reports sustainability progress with BIFMA certified products

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Steelcase's Amia chair is LEVEL 3 certified by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA). Courtesy Steelcase

Steelcase is making progress toward its sustainability goals with a significant increase to its Business and Industrial Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) LEVEL certified products.

A total of 281 of the Grand Rapids-based furniture manufacturer’s products now meet new LEVEL standards, including 114 at LEVEL 3, the highest and most rigorous certification, Steelcase said this month.

The company said it now is well on its way to achieving its goal of 90% of North American sales certified as LEVEL 3 products. The products meeting the new standard include a variety of seating, desking, tables and work tools from Steelcase.

LEVEL is an evaluation and certification system for the environmental and social impacts of furniture products in the built environment. LEVEL measures attributes such as product materials and chemicals, manufacturing processes, safety management practices in manufacturing and the social responsibility commitments of organizations. Three performance tiers can be awarded, and the higher the number, the more difficult the criteria.

“Our aim is always to design products that are good for people and good for the planet, reinforced by fair and sustainable practices across our supply chain,” said Tammy Ayers, market strategy and stakeholder engagement manager of sustainability at Steelcase. “We are on a journey to reduce our footprint in everything we create, and seeing this many products receive LEVEL certification is a great step. Today, 97% of Steelcase brand products sold in North America are LEVEL certified — but we’re not finished yet.”

An updated and more challenging version of the LEVEL standard was published in 2019 to harmonize with other leading certifications and to examine use, product manufacturing and end-of-life lenses.

The Steelcase approach to sustainable product design ensures its products are designed with consideration of lifecycle thinking and cradle-to-cradle principles. Life cycle assessment and hazard/exposure-based chemical assessment methodologies are used to evaluate the full impact of products in the context of a circular economy. All product materials are reviewed to identify, reduce and eliminate chemicals of concern. Products are tested and third-party certified in accordance with best-in-class indoor air quality standards, Steelcase said.

The full list of Steelcase’s LEVEL certified products can be found on the SCS Global Services website.

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