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Case Study

Steelcase, Inc.


The Company

Incorporated in 1912, Steelcase designs, creates, and manufactures metal and wood office furniture, systems furniture, seating, computer support furniture, desks, tables, filing cabinets, and office lighting, among others. At 3.26 billion annually in worldwide sales, the company has more than twice the sales volume of its nearest competitor.(^1) Steelcase company perspective states, "At Heart, Steelcase is a work effectiveness company. We help individuals and the organizations that employ them around the world to work more effectively."(^2) Today, it is apparent that their company perspective has become a reality. Everybody's Business: A Field Guide to the Leading 400 Companies states, "This company, more than any other, is responsible for the look of the modern office. Since 1968, they've been the industry leader, earning a reputation as the General Motors of the office furniture industry."(^3)

While Steelcase, naturally, like any other company has a main focus of generating revenues and creating high profits, environmental protection has been one of their core values as long as they've been in business. As their environmental brochure boldly states, "We're committed to our environmental responsibilities from the way we design and make our products to the mark we leave on our communities."(^4) Although Steelcase concedes that environmental responsibility is a "moving target," they promise to "move with it, become more environmentally effective tomorrow than we are today, by conserving resources, preventing pollution, achieving sustainability, exceeding compliance obligations, and nurturing an environmental consciousness in our people."(^5) When any environmentally unfriendly aspect of its business presents itself, it is the Steelcase mentality and their self-imposed ethical obligation to make everything it does as a company environmentally sound.


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