revamps products and packaging strategy
Staples, Inc., the world’s largest office
products company, has announced a new corporate strategy to drive
sustainability innovation in product manufacturing, packaging
and distribution by challenging its key suppliers to join it
in a “Race to The Top.” The company detailed the challenge to
its key suppliers at its Supplier Summit which took place in
Boston on October 22.
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
“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
The importance of the strategy was outlined at the 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
- 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, 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.