Sustainable Products

Staples is constantly looking for more sustainable ways to manufacture, transport and use the 1.7 million products we sell. Our customers want products that are: 1) made with more sustainable raw materials, 2) sourced and manufactured responsibly, and 3) sustainably packaged. To meet these needs, we have worked with our vendors to sell a wide range of sustainable products, including Staples® Brand Products.

HELPING CUSTOMERS BE MORE SUSTAINABLE.

30% of our sales are from products with one or more environmental features.

An increasing number of customers are looking for easy ways to reduce the environmental impacts of running their organizations and home offices. Staples offers more than 16,000 products with environmental features, including items that meet more stringent and advanced environmental standards, including:

  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper products
  • EPA Safer Choice and Green SealTM certified cleaners
  • Fair Trade and USDA Organic certified coffees
  • Level® certified furniture
  • ENERGY STAR® certified and EPEAT verified electronics.

In the U.S., 30% of product sales were products with environmental features, with over half of those sales meeting our criteria for more advanced environmental designs.

We strive to make it easy for customers to understand and access our sustainable product offering. For our Staples Business Advantage® customers, our Strategic Account Leaders and sustainability experts can help customize sustainability programs. This includes reporting tools that provide visibility into the percentage of spend with Staples that meets environmental criteria, benchmarking environmental spend against peers and "eco-alternatives" functionality to help drive increases in sustainable procurement. We recently relaunched our Sustainability Center on staples.com® to help raise awareness of eco-responsible products and make it easy for customers to directly shop for those products.

MAKING OUR SUPPLY CHAIN MORE SUSTAINABLE.

Staples holds our suppliers to a high code of conduct.

Staples has a large, complex and geographically diverse supply chain. Staples sources directly from thousands of suppliers, both large and small, across a few dozen countries. And we spend billions of dollars annually on products that we resell to customers across all of our sales channels.

Across our entire assortment, we seek to offer products that meet our customers’ core requirements for quality, features and value while delivering reduced environmental and social impacts. Many of our key suppliers and our own Staples® Brand Group have invested in sustainable product development to bring more eco-responsible products to market.

Our Supplier Code of Conduct drives the environmental and social expectations of all of our vendors and Staples Brand suppliers. We expect all suppliers to comply with this policy, and we audit Staples Brand suppliers in high-risk regions to evaluate compliance.

COLLABORATING TO ADVANCE PRODUCT SUSTAINABILITY.

The Staples Sustainable Innovation Laboratory has researched greener alternatives since 2012.

Staples has been supporting independent research to advance our work on sustainable products with Staples Brand and name-brand suppliers. The Staples Sustainable Innovation Laboratory (SSIL), within the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), opened in 2012 with a donation from Staples. The mission of the SSIL is to serve as a high-impact research, outreach, training and education hub that accelerates the deployment of innovative and sustainable business practices.

The SSIL is conducting research in various areas, including:

  • Improving the design of office furniture to reduce life cycle environmental and human health impacts
  • Uncovering opportunities for extending remanufacturing cycles for toner
  • Evaluating and mitigating common sources of indoor air pollution in the office environment
  • Understanding the most important contributors to environmental impact across common physical workplaces

ADVANCING RESPONSIBLE PAPER CHOICES.

We champion the latest forest management practices.

Our Paper and Wood Product Sourcing Policy ensures that the paper products we sell are sourced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. And it sets a high-performance standard for suppliers of paper-based products.

The policy focuses on four key areas:

  1. Protecting forest resources and communities
  2. Reducing demand for virgin wood fiber
  3. Sourcing from paper mills committed to environmental excellence
  4. Promoting more sustainable products

We collaborate with several non-profits including the Rainforest Alliance and GreenBlue’s Forest Products Working Group to help improve paper product sustainability. We continue to work closely with our suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure we are improving our forest management practices, protecting endangered and high conservation-value forests and developing more sustainable products.

OFFERING MORE SUSTAINABLE PRINT & MARKETING SERVICES.

All of our copy machines are ENERGY STAR® certified.

We are committed to offering our customers environmentally responsible print services that meet our high quality standards. Staples® Print & Marketing Services offers recycled and Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSC) certified paper options, while our copy machines are ENERGY STAR® qualified for energy efficiency. In addition, we offer shredding services and eco-shipping options.

PROVIDING CLEANER, SAFER CHEMICALS.

We’re expanding our assortment of products certified to be made with healthier and safer chemistry.

The introduction of new chemicals over the past few decades has improved the quality, efficiency and convenience of products. At the same time, Staples recognizes that not all chemicals are created equal when it comes to their potentially adverse effects on human health and the environment.

As a result, Staples is committed to offering products that are safer and more sustainable. Here’s how we’re accomplishing this:

  • Increasing our offering of safe workplace solutions, including our Staples® Sustainable Earth™ cleaning products. These products perform equal to or better than conventional or competing products and have a reduced effect on environmental and human health when compared with competing cleaning products that serve the same purpose. These products are designed and/or certified to meet third-party standards for greener chemistry developed by credible, independent organizations like EPA Safer Choice and Green SealTM.
  • Partnering with collaborative groups that drive the advancement of green chemistry, green engineering, safer chemicals and more sustainable products in the marketplace.
  • Responding to market demand for high-performance products designed and made without hazardous chemicals; plus promoting the use of chemicals, processes and products that are inherently less hazardous.

CREATING GREENER PACKAGING.

We’ve reduced corrugate use in the U.S. by 15% with Smart-Size Packaging.

Our recently implemented Smart-Size Packaging system improves our customers’ experience and reduces our carbon footprint. In collaboration with Packsize International’s On Demand Packaging® technology, Smart-Size Packaging produces customized packaging tailored to each order.

This award-winning technology reduces corrugate use by 15% or more and void fill use by approximately 60% across our entire U.S. network. It also improves less-than-full-case average cube utilization by 20%. We have completed installation of this new packaging solution in the majority of our U.S. delivery fulfillment centers.

Our goal is to reduce the amount of outbound packaging used in our United States operations by 20% by 2020 (from a 2011 baseline). We are using a normalized per-package-shipped metric to track progress against this goal, to account for increasing numbers of packages shipped. We measure corrugated cardboard, envelope and air pillow amounts by the weight of materials purchased. Since 2011, the weight of all packaging materials used per package shipped decreased by roughly 8%.

performance highlights

  • Goal:

    Continue to improve the sourcing, identification and promotion of greener products to customers.

    Sustainable products

    30%

    of product sales contain eco features

    Progress: ON TRACK

    Thirty percent of Staples sales meet one or more environmental features, from recycled content to leading environmental certifications.

  • Goal:

    Reduce the use of outbound packaging materials in the United States by 20% from 2011 to 2020.

    Sustainable products

    8% REDUCTION

    of weight of all packaging

    Progress: ON TRACK

    Since 2011, the weight of all packaging materials used per package shipped decreased by approximately 8%.

PERFORMANCE SNAPSHOT

Learn about our corporate responsibility focus areas and progress. Plus download a summary of our key performance metrics.