As the leading retail outlet for paper and other forest-based products, the office supply sector is closely tied to the pulp and paper industry’s devastating environmental impacts. Companies like Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax are a critical link in the chain from the forest to the paper mill to individual consumers.
In 2000, Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics launched the first public campaign ever waged to transform environmental practices in the U.S. office supply industry. In the campaign’s first victory, we persuaded office supply giant Staples, Inc. to announce one of the most ambitious environmental policies ever adopted by a publicly owned U.S. company.
Since that first campaign, the office supply industry has changed. Just a few years ago, the industry’s product lines contained almost no recycled content. Today, because of strong demand for recycled content from companies such as Staples and Office Depot, U.S. producers of recycled paper fiber are operating at peak capacity, and industry analysts project steep growth in demand for recycled paper fiber over the next several years.
Across the board, the biggest office supply companies have improved — bringing more responsibly produced paper to the marketplace, supporting on-the-ground efforts to protect important forests, increasing FSC certification, and purchasing their fiber from more responsible suppliers. Yet, most companies still have significant environmental issues with their supply chains and still have not adopted all the best practices required to lighten their impact on forests.
Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics continue annually monitor and report on the progress of the largest companies in the office supply sector through Green Grades, our comprehensive survey of environmental policies and practices. The sustainability metrics we developed for Green Grades have become the leading forest-related indicators for evaluating environmental performance.
Learn more about which companies are leading and who are the laggards when it comes to valuing our forests in Green Grades.
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