Letter from Ron Sargent
Dear Valued Stakeholder,
At Staples, we are committed to helping our customers make more happen every day.
To that end, we are continuously expanding the range of products and services we offer to best meet customer needs. We’re also making it easier for customers to shop with us in whatever way is most convenient for them. And of course we always look to make savings happen for customers and in our own business.
Our corporate responsibility programs are a critical part of our customer commitment. For example:
- We promote education and career skills development in local communities around the world where we work and live.
- We help our customers reduce their environmental impacts by offering a wide assortment of eco-responsible products and diverse customer recycling programs for ink, electronics and more.
- And we ensure that our customers feel confident about shopping with a company that is committed to diversity and inclusion, and one that requires its associates and suppliers to be ethical and accountable.
I invite you to read more about our corporate responsibility initiatives on the following pages. A few highlights and accomplishments for the most recent year are included below.
- Engage the communities where we work and live — We donated more than $13.8 million to non-profit organizations around the world through Staples Foundationsm, corporate charitable giving programs, in-kind donations and cause marketing efforts. This includes $2.4 million that our associates directed to the more than 1,000 organizations that they care about most. Meanwhile, our customers donated over $1.9 million through our cause marketing and disaster relief campaigns. We also engaged more than 3,200 associates in community volunteering events in 13 countries.
- Build ethics and integrity into the way we work — We continued to promote our Code of Ethics and related ethics programs through our internal website, which provides associates with easy access to our policies, training materials and other resources to ensure they have the information and tools they need to act with integrity. Also, with our training and other outreach programs, we continued to encourage associates to speak up and raise questions and concerns through our global ethics helpline or other options. We also continued implementing the Staples Supplier Code of Conduct, inspecting nearly half of the supplier factories producing our Staples® Brand Products to ensure compliance.
- Foster diversity and inclusion among our associates — We added a dedicated Diversity Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion Manager to our Diversity & Inclusion Center of Excellence. These additions signaled the importance we place on building a diverse workforce and inclusive work environment aimed at helping Staples compete in a changing global marketplace. We continued to evolve our Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) and have added two new groups, Diversity Matters in the Rockies and Diversity Matters in Central Florida. These groups represent a different, holistic approach compared to our existing ARGs, which are built around a specific demographic, like women or LGBT. All of our ARGs provide exceptional benefits to our associates, to Staples and to the communities in which we live and work. Additionally, we continued our successful Supplier Diversity Program with excellent results. The combined efforts of our Workforce Diversity and Supplier Diversity teams further solidified Staples as an organization that strives to model the way in the Diversity & Inclusion arena.
- Generate shared environmental and business benefits — At Staples, our priority is helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals. This year, we generated more than $5 billion in sales of products with environmental features, a testament to the diverse product assortment we offer our customers. We collected more than 26 million pounds of eWaste and more than 62 million ink and toner cartridges for recycling globally. We also launched eWaste recycling for US Advantage® customers and the ZeroWaste box for online Canadian customers. Just as importantly, we continue to focus on reducing our own impacts through our energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives and waste reduction and recycling programs. All of these efforts are amplified by engaging our supply chain, associates and other relevant stakeholders to raise awareness, find partnership opportunities and drive change.
Our commitment to our customers is unwavering, as is our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen. We believe in transparency and have shared our goals in this report. We look to you, our shareholders, to continue guiding us on how we can improve our community engagement, diversity and inclusion, ethics and integrity and sustainability.
Chairman & CEO