At Staples, our vision is to generate business and environmental benefits — for ourselves, our customers and our communities — by leading the way in sustainable business practices.
We’re working to achieve this vision through a continued focus on sourcing more sustainable products; improving our offering of recycling and other green services; maximizing our energy efficiency and renewable energy use; and eliminating waste.
Our sustainability strategy focuses on the ways we can have the greatest beneficial impact on the environment while also meeting the needs of our customers and our business.
Five pillars constitute the foundation of Staples’ sustainability program:
We set a series of global and U.S.-specific goals to measure our progress in these areas, and track our progress against these goals. Our goals and progress to date are presented in this section, and we have also included a summary of our targets in the Goals section of this site.
Our sustainability efforts are managed by the Vice President of Environmental Affairs, who oversees the sustainability program. This executive reports to the Chief Culture Officer, who reports to the CEO.
The Vice President of Environmental Affairs has global responsibility for sustainability and provides periodic updates on environmental performance to the Board of Directors. The Environmental Affairs department collaborates with other associates in the U.S. and internationally, including, but not limited to, associates in real estate and construction, energy management, merchandising, the Staples® Brand Group, supply chain and marketing, and internationally based corporate responsibility colleagues.
Staples has a large global and interdependent supply chain that represents a significant portion of the environmental impacts associated with the products we sell. Due to an increased focus on identifying the environmental risks and opportunities in our supply chain, the Environmental department continues to engage closely with our Supplier Collaboration department. This team, led by the Vice President for Transportation and Supplier Collaboration, is responsible for implementing Staples’ supplier sustainability partnerships and innovations in product packaging, manufacturing and distribution.
Internationally, 107 of our facilities have environmental management systems certified to the ISO 14001 standard. This provides a system for us to observe, control and improve our environmental performance, not only helping us to comply with relevant legislation, but also helping us to improve our performance through pollution prevention and resource conservation. Countries include Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
To ensure that our associates continue to learn more about what Staples is doing to increase our sustainability, and how they can personally contribute to these efforts, we are utilizing a wide range of internal communication vehicles to engage, educate and inform associates globally. These include the use of our intranet, quarterly management forums, special events and various internal newsletters, among other modes of communication. These ongoing communications build understanding throughout the Staples organization and increase our capabilities as a sustainability leader.
At Staples, community involvement is an important component of our Staples Soul initiatives. Across our operations, we engage with our local and national communities to drive environmental improvement and infuse environmental awareness, particularly with younger generations. Examples of our community engagement include:
As reflected in our last report, we have gathered performance data to set a 2010 baseline for our 2020 global performance goals. With time, our data collection capabilities continue to improve, allowing us to report on a more complete picture of our environmental performance. As a result, we have gathered more complete data for 2011 as well as 2012, allowing us to report on our progress against our goals with more certainty. The performance data and progress reported below reflects the vast majority of our global business operations. We will update our progress as we fill any outstanding data gaps.
|Sell more sustainable products and services||Offer our customers only sustainable product and service choices.||Continue to improve sourcing, identification and promotion of greener products to customers.||In 2012, Staples had approximately $2.47 billion in sales of products meeting our criteria for more advanced environmental features, globally, which represents about 11 percent of total sales.|
|Reduce the use of packaging materials in the United States by 20 percent by 2020 from a 2011 baseline.||In 2012, we implemented our “Smart-size Packaging” solution in 14 fulfillment centers. We also developed solutions for more than 300 Staples-branded products to reduce environmental impacts of products. Finally, we piloted a packaging scorecard to baseline packaging data and measure improvements of our supplier-produced products.|
|Offer easy customer recycling solutions||Recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of the technology products we offer.||By 2020, recycle 100 million ink and toner cartridges each year across all operations.||Globally, we collected more than 76.5 million ink and toner cartridges in 2012, an increase of nearly 7 percent from 2011.|
|By 2020, recycle 40 million pounds of e-waste each year globally.||Globally, we collected nearly 19.4 million pounds of e-waste in 2012, a decrease of 9.7 percent from 2011.|
|Eliminate operational waste||Achieve zero waste in our operations and help our customers to minimize their operational waste.||Reduce waste to landfill by 25 percent globally by 2020 with 2010 as a baseline.||Globally, we sent 34,020 tons of waste to the landfill in 2012, a less than 1 percent increase from 2011 (33,820 tons) and a 10 percent decrease from 2010 (37,810 tons).|
|Maximize energy efficiency and renewable energy||Achieve zero carbon emissions in our operations and help our customers pursue the same goal.||Improve Staples’ U.S. fleet fuel economy from a 2010 baseline by 15 percent by 2015.||While fleet fuel economy did improve from 10.01 mpg in 2010 to 10.04 mpg in 2011, we experienced a decrease in 2012, to 10.01 mpg. This was due to running more miles and having to use blended fuel (which delivers lower BTUs per gallon and therefore lowers fuel economy) for a longer time due to cold weather conditions this year.|
|Reduce the electrical intensity of our global operations by 25 percent by 2020 from a 2010 baseline.||In 2012, global electrical intensity (11.34 kWh/ft2) increased slightly from 2011 (11.28 kWh/ft2) but still showed a decrease from our 2010 global electrical intensity (11.56 kWh/ft2).|
|Ensure that 50 percent of our active locations in the United States achieve ENERGY STAR® certification by 2020.||At the end of 2012, 29 percent (513) of our active U.S. facilities were designated as ENERGY STAR® certified. This represents an increase from 16 percent at the end of 2011.|
|Reduce global carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2020 from a 2010 baseline.||In 2012, our global carbon emissions after offsets were 176,955 MtCO2e, an approximately 1 percent decrease from 2011 after-set emissions (178,710 MtCO2e) and a 56 percent decrease from our 2010 after-offset emissions (407,650 MtCO2e).|
Sustainable Products and Services
Staples seeks to make it easy for our customers to purchase more sustainable products and services that will reduce our collective impacts on the environment and society. To help pursue this objective, we collaborate with our suppliers and other stakeholders to reduce packaging and improve its environmental performance, identify and offer a broad assortment of greener products, develop tools and resources to guide our customers to find and choose greener products, and launch recycling and other services that meet the needs of our customers while reducing environmental burdens. Ultimately, the measure of success is how we’re able to progress against our goals related to packaging reduction, green product sales, and recycling and other services.
Offer our customers only sustainable choices by building sustainability into all of our products and services.
Excessive and unsustainable packaging drives up costs, wastes resources and burdens our customers with packaging waste that they then must either recycle or throw away. By reducing packaging volume and using more environmentally sensitive packaging materials, we’re asking our suppliers to help us ease the burdens that we collectively place on our customers and the environment.
Since we began this initiative, we have worked to identify, prioritize and pursue projects that will deliver the highest positive environmental impacts. Over the last year, we have continued to partner with Staples’ key suppliers on reducing packaging, particularly in top-moving categories such as paper. We have replicated material reductions and changes previously made in the U.S. into our Canadian and Quill paper lines and are investigating new packaging material alternatives based on the latest technology available. We have also begun integrating more sustainable designs into Staples® brand products as part of the current repackaging initiative, as well as creating ongoing packaging standards for future products. In 2012, we developed solutions for more than 300 products that reduce the amount of packaging, improve cube utilization, and/or increase the use of recyclable materials. Several categories are in various stages of completion, including writing instruments, envelopes, and filing and business tools (e.g., staplers) with others scheduled to begin throughout 2013. We are currently piloting a Web-based packaging scorecard with several key suppliers that measures baseline packaging and provides the ability to track and report on improvements over time. Finally, we have completed a first draft of a new packaging policy and are working with internal and external experts to fully validate it prior to launch.
Our biggest challenges to date in making more progress on product packaging include:
Added to the above challenges is the need to balance improvements across both brick-and-mortar and eCommerce channels — the added complexity can add cost or limit the options currently available.
Along with our efforts to reduce and improve packaging around products, we have developed new processes and systems to ensure that our shipments to customers are engineered to minimize packaging.
Recognizing that corrugated use in our outbound packaging has a significant impact, we have implemented Smart-size Packaging that custom builds a box based on the contents of each customer’s order to largely eliminate the excess space in our delivery boxes. We have completed installation of this new packaging solution in 19 of our U.S delivery fulfillment centers and are scheduled to complete the remaining 13 facilities by mid to late 2013. This new technology will reduce corrugated use by more than 15 percent and air pillow use by about 60 percent across our entire U.S. network. We also anticipate that when the solution is fully rolled out, the reduction in corrugated use will reduce carbon emissions by 25,000 metric tons annually.
In 2012, Staples used an estimated 45.1 million pounds of corrugated cardboard, as measured by volume of materials purchased. This represents an increase from our 2011 use (40.5 million pounds). As we finish transitioning our distribution centers to the Smart-size Packaging, and adjust our corrugated purchases accordingly, we anticipate our total volume used will start to decrease.
Staples Europe has invested in Jivaro technology in the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden and Spain, with 12 machines active across Europe. This technology adapts the height of the box to the contents inside before sealing the box, with the end result being a compact box that does not take up any more space than is strictly necessary. This has allowed for a cube improvement of up to 30 percent per customer order, which translates into fewer vehicles required to move the product to customers.
In the U.S., we have reduced the thickness of our air pillow plastic by 35 percent while maintaining performance standards. As a result, the weight of air pillows purchased decreased by nearly half between 2011 and 2012 (1.6 million pounds to 888,000 pounds). We have also developed several new outbound packaging solutions for products with unusual dimensions or high damage rates. In addition, we are currently piloting a systemic enhancement that will allow us to eliminate paper copies of packing slips and other shipping paperwork and deliver a customized solution electronically to our customers, as well as evaluating alternatives to our current packaging supplies, including higher recycled content and reusable options.
Through our Small Order Reduction initiative, we are encouraging Staples Advantage® customers globally to reduce their environmental impacts. Consolidating orders decreases packaging waste and reduces unnecessary delivery trips. To support this initiative, we use a Small Order Calculator, which allows us to work together with our customers to reduce the number of orders below a certain threshold by consolidating multiple small orders into one, less frequent order. This approach has been implemented in the U.S., Canada and Europe (namely, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK). Certain business units have also aligned this initiative with a tree-planting scheme, whereby they donate to a planting charity on behalf of customers.
In our stores and online, Staples offers our customers more than 10,000 products with environmental features. This includes everything from attributes common in the industry to products meeting some of the most stringent and holistic environmental certifications.
In 2012, our sales of products with any environmental features we track in the U.S. were $2.51 billion, or approximately 15 percent of total U.S. sales. Meanwhile, U.S. sales of products meeting our criteria for more advanced environmental features were $1.64 billion, or 10 percent of total sales. Globally, sales of these products with advanced features were $2.47 billion in 2012, or approximately 11 percent of sales for reporting business channels. These more advanced products meet a higher standard for environmental performance, and include those containing 30 percent or more post-consumer recycled content; those adhering to a select group of third-party environmental standards and certifications (like ENERGY STAR®, Forest Stewardship Council, Green Seal™, and level®); and those containing 30% or more agricultural residues, rapidly renewable materials or bio-based plastics.
In 2012, Staples launched the Sustainable Earth by Staples™ brand in European and Australian markets, to build on our existing assortment in North America. To learn more, view our U.S. assortment.
Staples Australia’s EarthSaver™ classification program, which makes it easy for customers to select environmentally preferable products, was significantly expanded during the year as the company launched a premium brand of eco-conscious products — Sustainable Earth by Staples™, making Staples the largest supplier of environmentally preferable products in Australia. In 2012, we increased the product offering with products like Sustainable Earth by Staples™ tissues. We now have more than 250 Sustainable Earth brand products available such as writing instruments, binders, desk accessories, notebooks and premium compatible toners.
In Europe, Sustainable Earth brand product ranges were launched in late 2011 starting with our range of cups, plates and bowls. From that time we have added to the assortment and now have a total of 67 products, ranging from recycled writing instruments to 100 percent recycled bin liners.
While we’re glad to be able to offer this assortment of products today, we believe that our business and our customers need more visibility into which features, certifications and/or supplier performance metrics drive the greatest environmental improvements in different product categories. Gaining clarity on these will allow us to make more sustainable purchasing decisions as a retailer and help us guide our customers to make it easy for them to make truly greener choices.
We are approaching this in several ways. Our initial focus has been to leverage existing certifications and features such as recycled content to identify and track products that we believe lead to improved environmental performance compared to the “industry average”. Our eco-conscious product criteria vary by market, but are typically characterized by 30 percent or more recycled-content materials and/or meeting specific third-party environmental standards.
We continue to help our customers locate the green products they’re looking for on staples.com®. Key improvements that we made in 2012 include:
In the coming years, we plan to collaborate with our suppliers and existing multi-stakeholder groups to create and implement more holistic metrics for measuring product sustainability. We’ll use these metrics to evaluate our success in offering and selling more sustainable products across key product categories over time, aligning with multi-stakeholder efforts where feasible. Our intention is to focus on “what matters most” within specific product categories. This means identifying and reducing the greatest environmental impacts of the product across its life cycle, from raw material extraction and manufacturing to usage and end of life.
We are committed to working through the challenges of developing a more sustainable product assortment for Staples’ customers, including:
The Staples Sustainable Innovation Laboratory (SSIL) within the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was founded in 2012 by a gift 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 in the following areas:
Our Sustainable Paper Procurement Policy forms the foundation of our commitment to ensuring that the paper products we sell are sourced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, and defines our expectations for suppliers of paper-based products. The policy focuses on four key areas:
Several collaborations are helping us make progress across these focus areas.
Through our participation in Rainforest Alliance’s SmartSource program, we supported the development of a Web-based sustainability sourcing evaluation tool for wood and paper products. The SmartSource 360 tool enables large paper and/or wood product buyers like Staples to trace the origins of these products through the supply chain to evaluate whether responsible sourcing practices have been used, with validation support provided by Rainforest Alliance staff. The SmartSource 360 initial version was completed and piloted at Staples in late 2011 into 2012. Staples is currently rolling out SmartSource 360 to key suppliers in a prioritized fashion and taking action based on what we learn.
The development and launch of Staples™ Carbon Neutral copy paper in Australia is a significant step in Staples’ commitment to sustainability. It provides customers with the opportunity to reduce their organization’s carbon footprint without having to sacrifice quality and performance or increase costs. Copy paper is Staples Australia’s best-selling item, so the potential impact of this new offering is significant and we are already seeing strong increase in demand.
Staples has also introduced 100 percent recycled paper across Europe, giving customers a top-quality product while reducing the impact it has on the environment. The new paper is manufactured from waste paper, using advanced techniques that combine a cutting-edge technical approach with high environmental performance to save resources and reduce energy consumption.
Since late 2009, Staples has helped lead a multi-stakeholder effort called the Carbon Canopy in collaboration with the Dogwood Alliance. This effort engages other conservation groups, wood product companies and landowners to protect forests, combat climate change and help develop sources of FSC-certified paper and wood products. The goal is to create financial incentives for private landowners to increase forest conservation and restoration efforts and work toward FSC certification, thereby producing a stable supply of FSC-certified wood to forest product manufacturers and increasing the available supply of FSC-certified wood and paper products in the U.S. marketplace.
In 2012, two of the Carbon Canopy’s three current pilot projects were moving toward completion, and the group aims to add multiple and diverse demonstration projects in the next few years to continue gleaning best practices and processes for expanding the volume of certified forests. Carbon Canopy members have also held meetings with carbon market specialists to evaluate opportunities to make an initial sale of carbon credits, to be traded in the spring of 2013. Over the next 20 years, the Carbon Canopy aims to catalyze the sustainable stewardship of an additional 20 percent of southern forests in the U.S.
In 2011, we became a founding member of the Forest Products Working Group (FPWG), a project of the non-profit GreenBlue. This group, consisting of paper manufacturers, large paper buyers and resellers, printers and others, is focused on developing innovative and sustainable solutions to support thriving forests and the forest products industry. One of the early focus areas of the FPWG was helping create the Guidelines for Sustainable Paper Products, a framework for understanding sustainability issues related to paper products. The next major focus area will be on identifying and seeking to accelerate innovative models for increasing the amount of certified forests in the U.S. Future project work will likely focus on helping define the group’s view of the appropriate use of recycled content across various grades of paper.
Staples also participates in WRI’s Forest Legality Alliance, an initiative aimed at eliminating illegal timber from entering global supply chains as well as the Boreal Business Forum, a group of businesses overseeing the implementation of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the world’s largest consortium agreement, covering over 76 million hectares of Canadian boreal forest.
We will continue to work closely with stakeholders and our suppliers to ensure they are taking action to improve their forest-management practices, protect endangered and high conservation–value forests, and develop more sustainable products.
We are also making it easy for Staples customers to make more sustainable copies. Since March 2008, Staples® Copy & Print Centers have used 50 percent post-consumer recycled FSC-certified paper as the standard offering for high-speed black & white copying.
Staples recognizes that chemicals are a key element of the global economy. The introduction of new chemicals over the past few decades has provided significant value to product designers and can improve the quality, efficiency and convenience of products in our workplaces, homes and communities. At the same time, Staples recognizes that not all chemicals, materials and products 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 safer and more sustainable products to help maintain a clean, safe and healthy workplace and environment. We are accomplishing this in several ways:
Safer and more sustainable products means global compliance, reduced risk, and meeting or adapting to the trends, needs and demands of downstream users. Everybody wins with safer products: the company and worker that make them, the retailer that sells them, the consumer that uses them and the environment that inherits them.
Recycling Solutions for Customers
Staples offers a variety of free recycling solutions for our customers, including office technology products like monitors, computers, printers, ink and toner cartridges, and rechargeable batteries. We offer customer recycling programs in many of our operations, including the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia and New Zealand.
Recycling programs are a win-win-win for our customers, the environment and Staples. Our customers enjoy a convenient and free or low-cost opportunity to responsibly dispose of used technology products; the refurbishing or recycling of products helps reduce the burdens of mining and prevents landfill waste; and, as a company, we build customer loyalty.
Recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of the technology products we sell.
In the U.S., Staples was the first retailer to offer a national electronics recycling program, in late 2007. In March of 2012 we evolved this service to make electronics recycling at Staples completely free. Customers can bring in up to six office technology items per day thanks to a new collaboration with HP and our recycler Electronics Recyclers International (ERI). More details about the office technology products we accept are available on our Easy on the Planet site.
To ensure that the electronic products Staples collects from customers are responsibly recycled, we work only with certified recyclers. ERI is certified both to the e-Stewards Recyclers Program standard and the R2 standard. Both standards seek to ensure that facilities responsibly handle and recycle eWaste. Vendors working with Staples have also certified their facilities to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.
Our commitment to working with certified recyclers recently earned Staples the e-Stewards Enterprise designation.
Staples continues to offer promotional events focused on technology products like mobile phones, printers and shredders that encourage customers to bring in an old product to be recycled at no charge while earning a coupon toward the purchase of a qualifying new product. We’ve found that these events drive recycling volume and sales of new products.
In 2012, Staples U.S. collected more than 12.7 million pounds of eWaste from our customers for recycling. This represents a decrease from the 13.9 million pounds collected in 2011, largely due to fewer promotional events held this past year. However, we are confident that with a renewed focus on driving customer awareness in 2013, we will significantly increase the volume collected in the future. Globally, Staples collected nearly 19.4 million pounds of eWaste, again showing a decrease from eWaste collected in 2011 (21.48 million pounds).
Of the total volume of e-waste Staples collected from our customers in the U.S., 1 percent by weight was refurbished and resold into the secondary market, while the other 99 percent was recycled. Laptop and desktop computers are the primary items eligible for refurbishment, and a total of 50 percent of the weight of these items were refurbished, with the remainder recycled for end of life.
Through the recycling process, our recycling partner ERI recovered several materials, including ferrous, non-ferrous and precious metals (approximately 60 percent of volume collected), plastics (26 percent), glass (5.5 percent), and other materials (8.5 percent).
Staples Canada is actively expanding its customer recycling programs. In 2012, our Canadian operations showed several noteworthy wins:
In the U.S., Staples encourages our customers to take advantage of our ink and toner recycling services and help protect the environment. In addition to reducing waste going to landfills and reusing valuable resources, our retail customers in the United States will receive $2 back in Staples Rewards® for each ink or toner cartridge recycled (up to 10 cartridges per month) if they've spent at least $30 on ink and toner over the previous 180 days.
Ink and toner recycling is also available to our Staples Advantage® customers. The program allows our drivers to pick up ink and toner cartridges for recycling directly from customers when we are delivering their office supplies.
In the U.S., Staples collected more than 72.46 million ink and toner cartridges in 2012, an increase of more than 7.5 percent from 2011 (67.36 million). Globally, we collected more than 76.5 million ink and toner cartridges from our customers for recycling in 2012, an increase of nearly 7 percent from those collected in 2011 (71.46 million).
Eliminating Operational Waste
Our commitment to reduce waste generation and increase waste diversion applies both to our own operations and to helping our customers do the same. We have programs in place in our stores, distribution centers and offices to recycle materials such as cardboard, mixed paper, shrink wrap and pallets, among other things. We also actively seek out new methods for attaining our waste reduction goals.
In 2012, we completed the second full year of a composting program in our Framingham corporate headquarters in the U.S. Since launching the program in late 2010, we have collected more than 120 tons of compost through our kitchen operations and associate disposal.
This year, we again saw a decrease in our total waste generation in the U.S. (from 29,910 tons in 2011 to 29,070 tons in 2012), reflecting our ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated at our facilities. The percentage of waste that goes to landfill compared to incinerator is approximately the same as in earlier years. Thus, our waste to landfill decreased between 2011 and 2012, from 27,060 tons to 26,600 tons.
Globally, our waste to landfill increased slightly (less than 1 percent), from 33,820 tons in 2011 to 34,020 tons in 2012.This does however represent a 10 percent decrease from 2010 (37,810 tons), putting us on track to achieve our goal of reducing waste to landfill by 25 percent by 2020.
To help understand and reduce waste generation, we launched a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt project in late 2009 to evaluate all sources of waste at our U.S. retail stores. After identifying several waste diversion and minimization opportunities and best practices, we started rolling out the program in a phased approach starting in 2010. In most cases participating stores have been able to reduce the frequency of waste pickup by half and, in many cases, recycling volumes have increased as a result. To date, the project has been rolled out to approximately 400 locations, or 25 percent of the retail chain.
Similarly to our retail stores, our North American Delivery (NAD) distribution facilities have an ongoing focus on decreasing waste generation, increasing our recycling recovery rates, and maximizing the overall efficiency of our waste management. Highlights of our NAD program initiatives in 2012 include:
We continue to track our progress against the compactor capacity utilization targets and waste diversion metrics we established for our fulfillment centers, and provide monthly reporting to help the fulfillment centers manage their waste and recycling programs.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
The Staples energy management program is a comprehensive organization of programs, projects, technologies and resources. We focus on energy reduction and conservation in our buildings and fleet, employing renewable energy resources, and reducing our carbon impact. We emphasize education and communication about our initiatives, and engage our associates and external stakeholders in our programs.
Staples has been an ENERGY STAR® partner since 1999. A joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR helps companies like Staples save money while protecting the environment through the use of energy-efficient products and practices.
EPA’s ENERGY STAR partnership program offers companies a proven energy management strategy that helps in measuring current energy performance, setting goals, tracking savings and rewarding improvements. By the end of 2012, the ENERGY STAR program had certified more than 8,200 buildings and plants across the country, for a total of more than 20,000 facilities. ENERGY STAR buildings emit 35 percent fewer GHG emissions and use 35 percent less energy than average buildings.
Working in partnership with ENERGY STAR, Staples continues to make substantial progress toward sustainability.
Another focus of Staples’ energy management effort is our commitment to continuously reduce energy consumption. We anchor these efforts in our kWh Reduction Initiative, which incorporates energy waste elimination, energy awareness training, energy usage metrics, outlier identification and store recommissioning as fundamentals of superior energy management. Nationwide, in 2012, we invested $1.6MM in energy projects at North American Commercial (NAC) facilities, and $4.2MM at retail stores for lighting retrofits.
We retrofitted more than 200 stores, including over 40 HID conversions to new fluorescent lamps; washed and re-lamped more than 110 stores, reducing wattage in the process; and conducted HVAC coil cleans at more than 450 stores. We continued to expand our store energy controls monitoring and recommissioning program, an initiative to reduce electricity consumption by ensuring that the systems that control energy usage in our stores are operating properly. In 2012, we retrofitted 291 stores with variable frequency drives (VFD) on HVAC supply fans, and simultaneously added demand-control ventilation to minimize the heating and cooling of introduced outdoor air.
We also continued to expand our participation in energy consumption demand response programs. We upgraded our stores with operating systems to track energy consumption daily at our locations targeted for ENERGY STAR certification. There are more than 550 stores with the capability to use the smart grid or take daily energy reduction (demand response) actions, and we continued to expand these capabilities in 2012. As part of a pilot in Southern California, approximately 90 stores were able to reduce their HVAC and lighting energy consumption by 25 percent or more when reacting to the smart grid, under an automated demand response (ADR) program.
We performed energy efficiency projects at 22 NAC sites in 2012, with typical measures including:
Over the past year, these efforts saved 5 million kWh of electricity. Over the three years prior to that, work at additional sites saved or avoided another 9.7 million kWh.
In 2012, we continued the “Energy Reduction Treasure Hunt” program that we launched in 2011, to identify energy reduction opportunities in our stores and distribution centers. The treasure hunt program is designed to help Staples identify ways to save energy, improve processes and seek ways of applying new technologies. The 3-day treasure hunt process focuses on lighting, battery chargers, conveyors, HVAC and the energy management system. It also incorporates employee engagement elements, such as an energy savings ideas contest, the use of posters to educate associates about the treasure hunt, and a rally with the associates and the energy team. This year, we performed 12 treasure hunts at our facilities, including the five retail stores that we entered in the ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings program. Each store improved its performance, including one that achieved a 20 percent overall energy reduction due to the measures we implemented.
Our goal is to reduce the electrical intensity of our global operations by 25 percent by 2020 from a 2010 baseline, which Staples is pursuing through a proven record of energy-saving strategies executed over consecutive years. In 2012, our electrical intensity in the US was 11.56 kWh per ft2, an increase over our 2011 intensity (11.46 kWh per ft2), in part due to a refinement in our normalization calculation. Globally, our electrical intensity was 11.34 kWh per ft2 in 2012, also an increase over our 2011 intensity (11.28 kWh per ft2). In both the U.S. and globally, we are still showing a positive trend towards our 2020 goals, as U.S. intensity has decreased by 1.2 percent since 2010 and global intensity has decreased by 1.8 percent since 2010.
In 2012, Staples UK was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard certification, a mark of excellence that publicly recognizes carbon emission reduction efforts. These efforts resulted in an 11.1 percent reduction in carbon emissions from the previous year.
Staples also completed a brand-new solar panel installation at our Corby Distribution Centre. The solar installation covers the entire roof with a surface area of over 9,000 m² and is capable of generating approximately 75 percent of the building’s energy consumption during the day.
Finally, Staples has partnered with TNT to gain access to their fleet of electric vehicles. Currently, 50 electric trucks are making deliveries to Staples customers in the UK’s major cities and towns.
The LEED® green building certification program promotes sustainable building and development practices though a rating system for building projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. Staples was one of the first companies in the retail industry to participate in the LEED program. To date, we have seven facilities with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification.
Staples spearheads many educational and community initiatives to inspire its employees and the members of the wider community to “think green” about saving energy, and develops communication materials to educate our associates about our work and how they can be involved. For example:
Staples uses a multipronged approach to ensure that the company is using energy as efficiently as possible. We also explore opportunities to take advantage of technologies that can reduce our environmental footprint. For example, we continuously evaluate the effectiveness of and adopt those processes and technologies that can lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.
While Staples’ energy reduction efforts are contributing substantially to reducing the company’s carbon footprint, we’re shrinking that footprint even further by increasing the proportion of renewable energy we produce and purchase — producing our own solar power, using fuel cell technology, and participating in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. As of January 2013, Staples was ranked fourth among all retailers, sixth among Fortune 500 companies and sixth nationally on the Partnership rankings lists.
Currently, Staples has 34 facilities hosting a total of 37 solar arrays in the United States. Recently, we added a 2.2 MW rooftop array on our London, OH facility, which will generate just over half of the facility’s annual energy needs, as well as a 700 kW array on the top level of a newly constructed parking garage at the Staples corporate headquarters facility in Framingham, MA. Nearly 14 MW of solar installations have generated more than 50 million kWh of clean energy for Staples facilities.
In addition to our aggressive application of solar power, Staples also uses fuel cell technology, of which we were an early adopter. We operate a 385 kW fuel cell that supplies an average of 90 percent of the base building electrical requirements for our 330,000-square-foot distribution center in Ontario, CA, and recently completed the installation of a fuel cell at our 740,000-square-foot distribution center in Rialto, CA that will provide 6.5 GWh of electricity. The fuel cells in both locations are complemented by solar installations.
Staples continues to expand our commitment to purchasing green power. In the U.S., Staples increased its purchase of green power, primarily in the form of renewable energy certificates, from approximately 50 percent of national electricity needs in 2011 to approximately 75 percent of national electricity needs in 2012. Our 2012 purchase (more than 516 million kWh) is the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 45,650 U.S. homes, and more than 304,940 metric tons of CO2. In 2013, we further increased our commitment, and now purchase more than 636 million kWh of renewable power, or the equivalent of 100 percent of our U.S. electricity needs.
Staples has worked diligently to reduce our operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions footprint.
In 2012, our U.S. carbon emissions were 71,000 MtCO2e after offsets, which represents a 6.4 percent decrease from our 2011 after-offset emissions (75,860 MtCO2e) and a 76 percent decrease from our 2010 after-offset emissions (291,660 Mt CO2e). As a result of our increasing commitment to purchasing renewable power in the form of renewable energy certificates (RECs), and due to the emission factors associated with the region in the country where are our purchased RECs are generated, we were able to offset all of our Scope 2 emissions (from purchased electricity) in 2011 and 2012. Note that we have adjusted our accounting for all three years to more accurately apply offsets from renewable energy purchases to only Scope 2 emissions (from electricity purchases) rather than Scope 1 and 2 emissions, resulting in some adjustments to earlier-reported numbers. Thus, the after-offset emissions reported here for 2011 and 2012 essentially reflect our Scope 1 emissions (from fuel use in our buildings and vehicles), and the decrease in energy use and emissions from this fuel use. In 2010, our offsets constituted a smaller percentage (less than 100 percent) of our Scope 2 emissions, and as a result, our after-offset emissions from that year were still reflecting some Scope 2 emissions and all Scope 1 emissions, and thus, the decrease from 2010 to 2011 and from 2010 and 2012 is more significant.
Globally, we are also demonstrating a sizeable decrease in our carbon emissions. In 2012, our global carbon emissions after offsets were 177,965 MtCO2e, a 1 percent decrease from 2011 after-offset emissions (178,710 MtCO2e) and a 56 percent decrease from our 2010 after-offset emissions (407,650 MtCO2e). Because our U.S. emissions represent a large portion of our global emissions, we are seeing a similar trend in our global emissions: a significant decrease from 2010 to 2011 as renewable energy purchases increased to the point of offsetting almost all Scope 2 emissions, and then a smaller decrease from 2011 to 2012 as after-offset emissions are primarily reflecting Scope 1 emissions. In 2012, three countries in our European market purchased a portion of their total electricity as renewable energy, which further contributed to a decrease in emissions from 2011 to 2012.
Despite greatly decreased emissions in the U.S. and globally, we will continue to focus on improving the energy efficiency measures we are continuously implementing in our facilities and in our transportation fleets. In addition, the emissions profile and trends in each country varies and thus these markets will continue to work on reducing their energy use and carbon emissions.
Recognizing that we have already made great progress toward our global goal to reduce after-offset carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2020 using 2010 as a baseline, we anticipate modifying our carbon goals accordingly in the near future.
For more information about our efforts to reduce GHG emissions, please read Staples’ 2011 response to the Climate Disclosure Project.
Staples Australia has been implementing Green IT initiatives over the past seven years. Example initiatives in 2011 included:
We electronically limit the top speed of our U.S. delivery fleet trucks to 60 miles per hour and employ idle management technologies to shut off engines after three minutes of idle time. These and other initiatives have allowed us to improve our long-term fuel economy trend. While overall fleet fuel economy improved from 10.01 mpg in 2010 to 10.04 mpg in 2011, we experienced a decrease in 2012, to 10.01 mpg. This was due to running more miles and having to use blended fuel (which delivers lower BTUs per gallon and therefore lowers fuel economy) for a longer time due to cold weather conditions this year.
Staples has 53 electric delivery trucks making deliveries to our customers in several markets, including Ohio; California; Atlanta, Georgia; Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Kansas City, Missouri. In 2013, we’ll be adding 5 more electric trucks in Maryland. Purchased in 2010, the trucks cost about $30,000 more than equivalent diesel-powered vehicles, but the extra expense will be quickly recovered; in fact, electric vehicles can provide greater savings to businesses than to consumers compared with diesel or gasoline models, in both fuel and maintenance costs. Staples was also awarded Federal Stimulus money through the Clean Cities Coalition, which covers 50 percent of the actual cost of alternatively powered vehicles
Each of the electric delivery trucks runs a daily route of less than 70 miles before recharging at night. These trucks produce zero on-road emissions. Though carbon emissions are released when charging the batteries to power the trucks, the total emissions associated with operating an electric truck are much lower than for a diesel truck. Carbon emissions from electric trucks vary depending on the carbon intensity of the electricity used to recharge the batteries. Based on assessing where our trucks operate and are recharged and the emissions rates in those areas, on average, Staples' electric trucks result in more than 56% lower carbon emissions than our diesel trucks.
Staples continues to evaluate and implement additional fleet efficiency initiatives, including:
For several years, Staples has participated in the U.S. EPA’s SmartWay Transport program, which aims to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas and air pollution from the transportation supply chain industry. Staples is a Shipper Partner of the program, which means a significant percentage of our freight shipments are made through carriers who are also partners of the program.