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Office Depot Helps Large Customers Understand ‘Greenness’ of Purchases

Office Depot is stepping up its transparency in products it sells that have environmental attributes, including a special program for larger customers that helps explain the “greenness” of the customers’ overall purchases. The program relies on Office Depot’s Shades of Green labeling program.

Additionally, Office Depot reduced its facilities and transportation carbon footprint by 6 percent in 2008. The biggest chunk of the reduction came from reducing fuel use and GHG emissions from deliveries, with that combined figure dropping 14 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to Office Depot’s 2009 Corporate Citizenship Report (PDF).

Office Depot, which has nearly 1,600 locations and $14.5 billion in annual revenue, sells more than 6,100 items in North America that have what it calls “green attributes.” That’s up from 5,200 in 2007 and about 4,000 in 2006.

To differentiate the environmental attributes of products, the company’s Shades of Green labeling system was implemented. Here’s a look at the Shades of Green scale.

shades of greenAll 6,100 items that have green attributes are tagged either “light green,” “bright green” or “dark green,” said Melissa Perlman, Manager of Public Relations for Office Depot.

For the most part, the products are tagged as to their shade of green in database form, not on the product packaging, she said. However, some in-store Office Depot Green brand items, including copy paper, hanging folders, envelopes, packing peanuts, paper products and CFL lights, utilize the labeling program in-store.

Also, Office Depot is rolling out to large customers a program to explain the environmental attributes of items the customers are buying. Dubbed the “Green Business Review,” the program uses the Shades of Green Rankings.

The program was piloted in June and in October it will be rolled to more than 2 million large customers, Perlman said.

Here’s a sample report.

office depot green spend

The company in the past year built its first LEED Gold certified store, in Austin, Texas.

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