Letter from Ron Sargent
Dear Valued Stakeholder,
Staples is reinventing our company. We have set aggressive goals, including accelerated growth in our online business and expanding our product assortment. We are also working to reduce operational costs to ensure that we have the resources to invest in our future growth.
One that hasn’t changed is our commitment to the corporate responsibility programs that make Staples a great corporate citizen and also a great place for our associates to work. Our commitments to community engagement, ethics and integrity, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability support our top and bottom lines by better meeting customer needs, contributing to our expanded product assortment, reducing risk, and increasing operational efficiencies.
I invite you to read more about our corporate responsibility activities and accomplishments throughout the following pages, but would also like to share key highlights below. Throughout the past year, we have continued to:
- Engage the communities where we work and live — This year, we donated more than $10.1 million to non-profit organizations around the world through Staples Foundationsm, corporate charitable giving programs, in-kind donations and cause marketing efforts (this includes $2.5 million that our associates directed to the more than 1,000 organizations that they care about most). Meanwhile, our customers donated more than $2.3 million through our cause marketing and disaster relief campaigns. We also established the Staples Emergency Education Fund with Save the Children to support educational needs in times of crisis.
- Build ethics and integrity into the way we work — This year, we continued to successfully deliver information about ethics and compliance to our associate community to ensure associates have the knowledge and tools they need to act with integrity. To accomplish this, we centralized our ethics information management, revised and streamlined training programs, and provided live training to business units across the company. 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 — This year, we further strengthened our commitment to diversity and inclusion by growing our network of Associate Resource Groups (ARGs), which provide Staples with a business advantage and its members with a myriad of benefits like a collective voice, a sense of empowerment, and deeper company engagement. Specifically, we launched several veterans’ ARGs and created external and internal Web pages to help veteran associates and applicants. Meanwhile, the Staples Supplier Diversity program continued to engage with diverse suppliers, organizations and the larger community. Collectively, these initiatives help strengthen relationships with our customers and provide flexibility and adaptability in a changing global marketplace.
- Generate shared environmental and business benefits — This year, we continued to focus on reducing our customers’ environmental impacts as well our own. Globally, we offer more than 10,000 products and counting with environmental attributes in our stores and online, representing more than $3 billion in annual sales. We expanded our U.S. customer recycling programs to add online ink and toner cartridge collection and also launched an online and in-store technology trade-in program, and continued rolling out our right-size packaging technology. Internally, we reduced our impacts through our ENERGY STAR® buildings, renewable energy initiatives, and environmental management systems, among others
Looking to the future, we will continue working toward our corporate responsibility goals, and sharing updates on our progress. Because we operate in an ever-changing global marketplace with rapidly evolving trends, opportunities and challenges, we evaluate our program priorities regularly to stay relevant and responsive.
We’re focused on how we can add value for our customers, our associates and the communities in which we work and live, whether we’re deepening associate and customer engagement in our philanthropic activities, expanding our resources for underrepresented minorities or adding more eco-conscious products to our expanding assortment.
Chairman & CEO