For immediate release – September 5, 2007
Contacts – Tom O’Leary, ForestEthics: 415-420-6934
Scot Quaranda, Dogwood Alliance: 828-242-3596
Office Supply Industry Leaders Shift Toward Environmental Responsibility
Environmental groups report significant progress with Staples, FedEx Kinko’s and Corporate Express; OfficeMax still lags behind
Asheville, NC – As the back-to-school shopping season comes to a close, environmental groups ForestEthics and Dogwood Alliance released a “report card” today on the forest-related paper practices of the five major office supply companies: Staples, Office Depot, Corporate Express, FedEx Kinko’s and OfficeMax. Each of the five companies has been engaged in discussions with the two environmental groups, which have resulted in several new advances: a new environmental policy and increased recycled paper use (Corporate Express), a commitment to sustainable logging (Staples), and the elimination of sourcing from endangered mountain caribou habitat (FedEx Kinko’s).
“The office supply sector has finally begun to make its paper supply more environmentally friendly,” said Andrew Goldberg, Director of Corporate Engagement at the Dogwood Alliance. “Where just a few years ago you could not find paper with recycled content, now it’s readily available. That’s a good first step, but these companies must sharpen their pencils and use their purchasing power to reform business-as-usual industrial logging and bring about improved management practices on the ground in the Endangered Forests of the Southern US, Canada’s Great Boreal Forest and other parts of the world.”
Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics have been working to reform the environmental practices of the office supply industry since 2000, and their successful campaigns have resulted in record-high production at recycled pulp mills in 2005, and increased demand for environmentally preferable papers. The new report, titled Green Grades: A Report Card on the Paper Practices of the Office Supply Sector, updates the progress made by the industry according to five categories, each of which is crucial to forest protection. They include the use of post-consumer recycled content; commitment to sustainable forest management; Endangered Forest protection; establishing chain-of-custody to determine where paper products originate; and prohibiting the conversion of native forests into tree farms or other non-forest land uses.
“We gave each company a chance to improve their grades before we released our report, and Staples, FedEx Kinko’s, and Corporate Express all responded,” said Aaron Sanger, director of ForestEthics’ Corporate Action Program. “The progress we’ve made represents a significant shift toward environmental responsibility, but there’s still work to be done. Some of the companies are clearly doing better than others, and all of the companies have room to improve.”
The overall grades for the companies were as follows:
• Staples: B. Staples scored well due to an average 30% (50% projected) post-consumer recycled content, as well as a new commitment (subject to market conditions) to have the majority of their product content certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the only credible forest certification standard, by 2010.
• FedEx Kinko’s: B. FedEx Kinko’s did well thanks to strong action taken to eliminate Endangered Forest sources in their supply chain, a preference for FSC certification over substandard systems, and 30-100% post-consumer recycled content.
• Office Depot: C+. Office Depot boasts an excellent chain-of-custody system, but has not kept pace with leadership demonstrated by Staples and FedEx Kinko’s on the type of sustainable forest management represented by FSC standards.
• Corporate Express: C. Corporate Express unveiled an entirely new environmental policy that is promising—including 30% post-consumer recycled catalog content—but many practices are yet to be implemented.
• OfficeMax: D. OfficeMax announced a new policy early this year but has taken no genuine action yet to require its suppliers to comply with this policy, which is weaker in many respects than those of its competitors.
Additionally, all of the companies still need to address their purchases from Asia Pulp & Paper, which is continuing to destroy Endangered Forests and generate greenhouse gases through its operations in Indonesia. The industry’s demand for paper has also long had a major impact on the forests of the Southern US, the largest paper-producing region in the world, and Canada’s Boreal Forest. The size of 13 Californias, the Boreal plays a major role in reducing global warming, as well as providing clean air, clean water and critical species habitat. The forests of the Southern US are the most biologically diverse in North America and in terms of freshwater aquatic species and tree species, the world.
To read the report, visit www.forestethics.org/greeengrades.
Dogwood Alliance is the only organization in the South holding corporations accountable for the impact of their industrial forestry practices on our forests and our communities. To learn more, visit: http://www.dogwoodalliance.org
ForestEthics, a nonprofit with staff in Canada, the United States and Chile, recognizes that individual people can be mobilized to create positive environmental change—and so can corporations. Armed with this unique philosophy, ForestEthics has protected more than seven million acres of Endangered Forests. Visit www.ForestEthics.org for more information.