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About this site

This site contains corporate responsibility performance information for the 2015 fiscal year (February 1, 2015– January 30, 2016).

To shape our corporate responsibility reporting and guide our program development, Staples conducted a recent materiality assessment of environmental, social and governance topics to determine which topics are most relevant to our business and our stakeholders. Read more about the materiality assessment and report development process, including which stakeholders we engaged, notable feedback and a matrix of the material topics identified.

We use ongoing stakeholder dialog to identify our primary audience for our Corporate Responsibility report and website, and tailor our content to best serve these users. These include but are not limited to customers, associates, the investment community including socially responsible investors, the communities where we operate and NGOs.

Each of our main Corporate Responsibility areas — Community Relations, Environment, Diversity & Inclusion, and Ethics — includes information about the most relevant topics, issues and opportunities affecting their program areas, as determined through research, regulatory and legal analysis, industry engagement and stakeholder feedback, among others.

This site reflects consolidated information from Staples across its global operations, to the degree available. Our Global Performance Summary provides detailed information about our performance metrics on a global level for the current reporting year and previous two years (for a total of three years). We also include environmental metrics for our U.S. operations (our largest market) in our Global Performance Summary, and on the relevant Environment sections of this report and website. More information about the markets and business units through which Staples operates can be viewed in the About Us section of this site.

We report data for leased facilities (our stores and warehouses) as well as for fully owned and/or operationally controlled buildings and operations. We exclude reporting on joint ventures, as these ventures represent an insignificant and non-material contribution to our overall impacts. The charts and tables included in the site and the performance summary clearly indicate whether the information reflects global, U.S. or international data, and whether there have been any restatements to data reported in past years.

The data measurement techniques used to present our quantitative performance vary depending on the metric presented — there are variations in data granularity, collection frequency and types of tracking systems, among other things. Where relevant we use available protocols for calculating impacts (e.g., we use the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard to calculate and report our GHG emissions), prioritize actual measured data over estimated data, and use estimation techniques that best reflect the reality of our business and operations.

This report has not undergone external assurance.

Stakeholder Engagement

Nothing is more important to Staples than the relationships we build as a company. Our key stakeholders include customers, associates, communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, investors, suppliers and industry groups, as each of these groups has the potential to significantly influence our ability to run a successful business.

We choose which specific stakeholders within each category to meet with based on a variety of factors, including the priority issues identified through our periodic materiality assessments, emerging trends and topics, risk evaluation, feedback from shareholders, and previous stakeholder engagement, as well as individuals’ and organizations’ availability and desire to meet with Staples. This year’s materiality assessment engaged both internal and external stakeholders, including Staples associates, Staples Advantage® customers, suppliers, and other special interest groups relevant to Staples’ business, through interviews and a survey.

View detailed performance data in our Global Performance Summary.

Stakeholder group How we engage
Associates

We engage with and support associates on an ongoing basis in many ways beyond their daily interactions with co-workers and managers, such as:

  • Print, online and broadcast communications
  • Regular associate engagement surveys
  • Interaction with Chief Culture Officer
  • “Breakfast clubs” with executives and senior management
  • “Just Ask” Q&A events with company leadership
  • International Corporate Social Responsibility taskforces
  • Associate Resource Groups (ARGs)
  • 2 Million & Change associate giving program
  • Company-wide Earth Week activities and campaigns
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Staples Share Fund (associate assistance fund)
Shareholders & Investors

We continued our corporate governance outreach program this year, which helps us understand and respond to shareholder concerns in a timely fashion. Through this initiative, senior management meets regularly with a variety of shareholders and proxy advisory groups to discuss the governance issues that are most important to them and also discuss our executive compensation program. Management then briefs the Board of Directors and its relevant committees and takes action as appropriate.

  • We respond to surveys that seek information about our corporate responsibility programs and performance, such as the CDP and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices questionnaire.
  • We also meet with firms that include corporate responsibility information in their investment portfolio screening process.
  • We conducted in-person and phone meetings with larger institutional investors, labor unions, pension funds, corporate social responsibility investors and proxy advisory groups.
Customers

To make sure that we're doing a good job, we survey customers in our retail, online and contract businesses, monitor quality assurance efforts, drop in on stores unannounced through "mystery shops," and interview customers directly. Each month, we conduct tens of thousands of customer satisfaction surveys across each of our North American business units and receive feedback from thousands of customers.

In our retail operations we ask customers to rank a variety of customer service factors, including customer engagement, cashier courtesy, speed of checkout, ease of finding merchandise, product availability in store, and associate knowledge.

In our contract and online businesses, we assess our customers’ overall satisfaction as well as specifics such as the ease of the shopping experience — online search capabilities, accuracy of product images and ease of checkout — as well as the packaging and delivery service, and satisfaction with any problem resolution.

Our Customer Service portal on staples.com® allows customers to submit inquiries and comments about our Corporate Responsibility programs.

Staples customers are also our fellow citizens, our neighbors and our friends. We contribute to local communities through corporate contributions, in-kind donations and grants from the Staples Foundationsm, our private charitable arm.

NGOs/International Organizations

Staples engages with NGOs that are considered leaders in their respective areas of expertise to help us enhance our performance across our Corporate Responsibility areas, such as:

  • Partnering with GreenBlue, Rainforest Alliance and World Resources Institute to help drive further improvements in our sourcing practices for forest-based products, such as paper
  • Partnering with Plant-for-the-Planet to reward Staples Advantage customers in Europe for reducing our collective environmental impact through reducing the number of small orders, purchasing eco-conscious products, and category consolidation
  • Staples Community & Giving supports hundreds of organizations each year, including strategic partners like Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Engagement with the Ethics and Compliance Officers Association (ECOA), whose members represent the largest group of ethics and compliance practitioners in the world
  • Partnering with Hire Purpose, an organization dedicated to finding employment for Veterans; the Network of Executive Women (NEW); and Women For Hire to support our diversity and inclusion goals.
Communities

We seek to be a valued and trusted member of the communities in which our associates and customers live and work. Staples works closely with all the non-profit organizations we support, whether they are long-term national partners such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, or small grassroots groups receiving a Staples Foundationsm grant to fund a local program.

From cause marketing and sponsorships to grants and product donations, Staples supports non-profit organizations focused on education and job skills, as well as schools, in a variety of ways. In 2015, we gave more than $13 million to non-profit organizations and schools around the world.

  • Though our grant program, 2 Million & Change, Staples associates helped to direct over $2.5 million to more than 875 organizations across 24 countries in 2015.
  • Staples® stores support non-profit organizations through We Care gift cards and in-kind product donations. These donations allow organizations to get the supplies they need from Staples to help make a community event or program a success.
  • Staples is building on its proud history of supporting teachers, students and education by donating to DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit that has helped fund school classroom project requests in public schools across America. Staples has donated more than $3 million to DonorsChoose.org to fund nearly 1,800 classroom projects for more than 2,000 teachers, impacting more than 200,000 students.
Suppliers

We engage with suppliers to promote ethics in the supply chain, environmental excellence and innovation, and a diverse supplier base.

  • Our Supplier Code of Conduct requires suppliers of Staples® brand products to adhere to all applicable labor standards and health and safety regulations as well as environmental laws. Factories in "at-risk" geographies are audited for compliance with those standards. We engage with our Staples® brand suppliers both in the United States and internationally to make sure they understand the provisions of the Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • Staples continues to work with suppliers and other stakeholders to continue to advance product sustainability in our Staples® brand and name-brand products. In addition to our work on paper-specific issues, we’re supporting product-related sustainability research.
  • We track more than 40 environmental attributes in our products, and ask our suppliers to disclose the relevant information in our SKU management database.
Industry Groups

Staples is a member of several trade groups as described in our 2015 Political Contributions Disclosure.

From a sustainability perspective, we are active members in the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA) working groups dedicated to environmental topics:

  • Retail Sustainability Initiative, an industry-wide educational forum for the largest U.S. retailers. It brings its members together to share leading practices, network, identify future trends, benchmark with peers, and collaborate on common industry sustainability challenges.
  • Energy Management Program, a multi-year program to guide energy, carbon and cost reduction across the retail industry.

In addition, through our Supplier Diversity Program we participate in several diversity councils, such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

GRI Index

With this reporting year, we are transitioning to the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. These guidelines, including the advised process for identifying the most material corporate responsibility issues and topics for our company, have helped shaped the content of this website and report. Specifically, we are reporting in accordance with the Core guidelines. Our GRI Content Index includes our responses (either directly in the index or via reference to a page on our website) to the General Standard Disclosures as well as the Specific Standard Disclosures that we have identified in the report development and materiality assessment processes. For more detailed information about our associate-focused programs and metrics, refer to our Workforce Snapshot.

In 2015, Staples signed the WRI Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles and the American Business Act on Climate Pledge to signal our support for increasing renewable energy and reducing climate impacts.

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