In its Race to The Top sustainability strategy, Staples calls on suppliers to compete not only in terms of product quality, cost and features, but in finding innovative solutions for product manufacturing, packaging, and distribution which reduce impacts on the planet. The strategy aims to increase environmental, economic and social sustainability and remove waste and inefficiency of all types.
"Viewing our business through the lens of environmental and social sustainability will lead to better results for our customers, our shareholders and our communities," said Ron Sargent, Staples' chairman and chief executive officer. "It's the right thing to do for our business and for all our stakeholders. The results of this challenge will help make it easy for customers to run their businesses more efficiently, with less impact on natural resources."
The importance of the strategy is being outlined at today's supplier summit. "We're letting our key suppliers know that sustainable business practices will join price, quality and service as a major factor in driving purchasing decisions," said Jevin Eagle, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at Staples. "Starting now and over time, we'll work with all of our suppliers in a Race to The Top to improve product sustainability and quality and reduce cost."
As immediate steps, Staples is asking its key suppliers to address environmentally sustainable packaging priorities in the next six months. These steps will reduce impacts on natural resources by using less or alternative packaging materials for products in the company's delivery and retail businesses as well as for bulk shipments received from suppliers.
Staples' strategy includes collaboratively developing sustainability scorecards for products and packaging. The scorecards will track design innovations and environmental attributes, driving more accountability throughout the supply chain. Supplier scorecard designations will increasingly be scientifically-based and focused on the sustainability attributes that matter most for particular types of products.
"Staples has been focused on sustainability for some time--from the products we offer to our own internal operations," said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs at Staples. "Now, by working closely with our key suppliers on sustainable packaging and products, we'll begin to drive continuous improvement more quickly across the lifecycle of products that we offer customers every day. This is particularly important work given that products represent the largest part of the company's overall environmental footprint. In other words, we're going after what matters most and changing the way our products get to market."
Staples' new corporate strategy for product and packaging sustainability is the company's most significant move in a series of industry-changing initiatives, including:
In March 2008, Staples' Copy & Print Centers introduced 50 percent post-consumer recycled FSC-certified paper as the standard offering for high-speed black and white copying, becoming the first national copy and print operation to do so.
In May 2007, Staples became the first retailer to launch a nationwide in-store technology recycling program.
In 2007, Staples became the first retailer to offer its own brand of recycled content copy and print papers certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a leading certification standard for sustainable forest management.
In 2002, Staples became the first in the office products industry to establish an environmental paper procurement policy.
About Staples and the environment
Staples has a long-standing commitment to sustainable business practices including computer recycling, ink and toner recycling, offering a wide assortment of products with various environment sensitive attributes, investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy and educating customers and associates about these efforts. The company ranked #20 overall and #2 among retailers in the Newsweek Green Rankings for 2009, which ranks the environmental efforts of the largest 500 companies in the United States. For more on Staples environmental initiatives, please visit www.staples.com/ecoeasy.
Staples, the world's largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products and services. Our broad selection of office supplies, electronics, technology and office furniture as well as business services, including computer repair and copying and printing, helps our customers run their offices efficiently. With 2009 sales of $24 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia serving businesses of all sizes and consumers. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today ranks second worldwide in e-commerce sales. The company is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com/media.