Opportunities and Expectations:  The Role of Manufacturers in Sustainability

Melissa DeSota, Steelcase, Inc., representing Laboratory Solutions – a business alliance between Steelcase and Lab Crafters

Sustainability is one of today's fundamental business challenges. It is also one of our biggest opportunities for innovation. Join Ms. DeSota, market strategist, global environmental sustainability for Steelcase, Inc., as she shares her company's sustainability experiences regarding the roles materials chemistry, lifecycle analysis, and suppliers are playing. Listen to stories that span the triple bottom line of sustainability, including a profile of the company's wind farm, biobased packaging, end-of-use strategies, and an unconventional supplier, in addition to a special comprehensive review of embedding sustainable thinking into the development of laboratory furniture, benches, and fume hoods.


Melissa DeSota is a market developer with the Global Environmental Strategy and Programs Team at Steelcase, Inc. Steelcase is an international work-effectiveness company whose knowledge, products and services enhance the quality of people's lives in work environments. Its product portfolio includes furniture systems, seating, lighting, storage, architectural and technology products, and related products. The company is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ms. DeSota joined Steelcase in 1985. She has more than 20 years of experience in the office furniture industry, including several years with the Steelcase Design Partnership companies, Product Marketing, and Corporate Marketing and Communications. She is a graduate of Aquinas College with a Bachelor of Science in business and marketing, and a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As a market developer for Steelcase, Ms. DeSota's work includes the development and implementation of corporate environmental strategy. Ms. DeSota led the relationship between Steelcase and McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) for the first several years, working with MBDC to assess the materials chemistry impact on all Steelcase products. She has also been involved in development of product-based environmental metrics, using data from the cradle-to-cradle assessment process and life cycle assessments performed on Steelcase products. Based on knowledge gained in these areas, Ms. DeSota has also led the development, training, and implementation of several environmental courses for the continuing education program for architects, designers, and Steelcase's customers.