Staples, FedEx Kinko's Top Scorecard: Report

Staples, FedEx Kinko's Top Scorecard: Report

Office supply retailers have taken strides to increase recycled paper use, commit to sustainable logging management and other environmental issues, a recent report found.

Of the top five U.S. office retailers, Staples and FedEx Kinko's received the highest marks, with each scoring a "B" in the corresponding scorecard released by the environmental groups ForestEthics and Dogwood Alliance. Office Depot, Corporate Express and OfficeMax rounded out the top five companies examined. The groups have tracked the environmental practices of the office supply sector since 2000.

"The office supply sector has finally begun to make its paper supply more environmentally friendly," Andrew Goldberg, Dogwood Alliance's director of corporate engagement, said in a statement. “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 U.S. South, North America’s Great Boreal Forest and other parts of the world."

The report card reflects the progress the companies have made following ongoing discussions with the two environmental groups. The report card is broken into five categories: post-consumer recycled content use, protection of endangered forests, commitment to sustainable forest management, chain-of-custody system and discouragement of converting native forests into tree farms or 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 groups awarded Staples and FedEx Kinko’s Bs. Staples’ score can be attributed to the fact that a third of its paper comes from recycled content and its goal of having a majority of its product content certified by the Forest Stewardship Council by 2010. FedEx Kinko’s scored well because of its efforts of removing endangered forest sources from its supply chain.

Office Depot, which scored a C+, hasn’t kept pace with Staples and FedEx’s actions regarding products with post-consumer recycled content and in promoting FSC products and systems. The company, however, has the best internal and third-party verified chain-of-custody system.

Corporate Express, which scored a C, has unveiled a promising new environmental policy that includes a goal of 30 percent post-consumer recycled content for all internal papers, catalogs and marketing materials.

OfficeMax, the report said, scored a D because it has taken no new action to require its suppliers comply with a new policy it implemented this year, which is weaker in some respects to those of other companies it examined.