When it comes to Staples and the environment, the company has worked to reduce its carbon footprint in several ways.

Paper products constitute a significant portion of Staples’ offerings. To help minimize the effect of so much paper use, Staples has been working to increase the percentage of paper products it offers that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The FSC certification helps ensure that the paper resources are grown and used in a way that minimized the impact on the environment.

Sometimes, a paper supplier does not meet the standards required to do business with Staples. In those instances, Staples will discontinue the relationship.

That’s what happened in 2008 when Staples stopped working with Asia Pulp & Paper, a Singapore-based company. According to Staples, the relationship ended because of “the supplier's poor environmental record and continued failure to live up to the commitments it had made to protect natural forest lands in Indonesia.”

Reduced Packaging

Staples recently began ramping up efforts to reduce the amount of packaging in its products.

The company eliminated PVC from all of its Staples-brand products in North America at the end of 2009. In addition, Staples-brand products now use a reduced basis weight for paper packaging and, as a result, reduce cardboard use by 880,000 pounds without impacting product damage rates. It also helped the company save $8 million.

Staples has said it has realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings by cutting product packaging in several areas. Working with one supplier, Staples was able to use 60 percent less packaging for one product and thereby reduced the shipping volume by more than 15 percent.

Reduced Energy Use

Staples set a goal in 2007 of reducing the amount of energy it uses per square foot in its U.S. stores by 10 percent by the end of 2009. The company exceeded that goal, reducing energy use per square foot by 12 percent by the end of 2009.

In fact, the company said that energy use across all facilities has dropped 30 percent since 2001 as a result of conservation efforts.

As an example, the company retrofitted the lighting 675 stores over the course of 2008 and 2009. Staples also improved energy controls, upgraded equipment at distribution facilities and implemented several other retail and non-retail energy conservation projects resulting in annual savings of 55,000 mega-watt hours.

Better Transport Logistics

The company saved a whopping $12 million in 2009 through better planning of its logistics operations. Staples reduced the number of miles traveled by trucks between warehouses and stores in the United States by 3 million miles in 2009. With this improved planning, the company saved money on fuel and reduced the amount of carbon dioxide put into the air.

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