Designtex, the contract textile division of Steelcase, has decided to let the entire textile industry benefit from its proprietary system for manufacturing 100 per cent biodegradable fabrics. This move will allow all fabric producers to use Climatex Lifecycle technology to create fabrics that are completely compostable.

Says Susan Lyons, Designtex executive vice president/creative director: "It took five years of research, re-education and investment to develop Climatex Lifecycle. In the seven years that we've been introducing William McDonough fabrics, the Climatex Lifecycle protocol remains the only 100 per cent biodegradable system. We licensed the use of this protocol to Carnegie Fabrics three years ago and feel in the spirit of what William McDonough calls environmental 'co-opetition' that it is time to offer it to the entire industry.''

Designtex's announcement was made in conjunction with William McDonough and Michael Braungart of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) and with the Swiss mill Rohner Textil.