Staples honored by EPA for continued commitment to green technology
- 08 October 2013
When you think of large supply companies with outstanding environmental practices, Staples Inc. may not be the first one to come to mind. Office supplies may not be sexy, but Staples has managed to again wow environmentalists. Recently the company was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the Green Power Leadership Awards ceremony for its achievements in "Sustained Excellence in Green Power".
Staples was one of 21 organizations recognized at the event, alongside the likes of Cisco Systems, Apple, Microsoft and The Ohio State University, for leadership in supporting green power development and installation.
By improving two key areas of its business practice, Staples has become a leader in green infrastructure and corporate sustainability:
- Reduced energy use and increased onsite generation: For more than a decade, Staples has committed itself to improving the sustainability and efficiency of its business. The company joined the EPA's Green Power Partnership in 2002 and pledged to reduce the environmental impact of its electricity consumption. This commitment began with using 2 percent green power that year, and in 2012 the company purchased 516 million kWh of renewable energy certificates (RECs), to utilize alongside the green power generated on site. Staples currently has 34 solar arrays in the U.S. with nearly 11 megawatts of installed solar capacity that have generated nearly 50 million kWh of renewable energy since 2007. The company now uses 100 percent green power.
- Improved logistics: A well-rounded approach to sustainability has been paramount to Staples' success. The company has worked to minimize the environmental impact of its sales by installing new packaging technology in more than half of its distribution centers. Earlier this year, it added five all-electric delivery trucks to its current U.S. fleet of 53. In 2009, the company saved $12 million by improving its transportation logistics. By simply reducing the number of trips between warehouses and stores, Staples trucks drove 3 million fewer miles.
Staples didn't decide to go green just for the sake of it. The company has improved its business practices and is benefiting financially. According to Morningstar, Staples' 2013 revenue totaled $24.3 billion, a steep increase from the $13.1 billion in 2004. Earnings per share have more than doubled in the same time period. Clearly, sustainability has been part of Staples' plan to not only encourage sound environmental practices, but increase savings and total revenue.
Previous "Sustained Excellence in Green Power" award winners include Whole Foods, Intel and Kohl's. This year's 21 winners were selected from a pool of more than 1,500 organizations ranging from local businesses, communities and universities to Fortune 500 companies. Nearly two-thirds of the Green Power Partnership members use 100 percent green power, and all together the partners are using more than 28 billion kWh of renewable electricity, the equivalent of which could power more than 3 million homes. By committing to green power, these organizations are helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, supporting the growing renewable energy industry and foreign oil independence, promoting environmental awareness and helping to create a more sustainable future for America.
Paul Batistelli freelances in the energy field for the promotion of a greener society and energy means. He works to raise awareness on ecological issues, energy dependency, and reducing carbon footprints.