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Staples Pushes Key Suppliers for Sustainable Products, Packaging

Staples has launched a new corporate strategy to drive sustainability in the supply chain for product manufacturing, packaging and distribution. The office products retail chain is challenging its key suppliers to compete in a “Race to The Top” to find innovative sustainable solutions in these three areas.

Announced at this week’s Supplier Summit in Boston, Staples says the strategy aims to increase environmental, economic and social sustainability and remove waste and inefficiency of all types.

“We’re letting our key suppliers know that sustainable business practices will join price, quality and service as a major factor in driving purchasing decisions,” said Jevin Eagle, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at Staples, in a statement. “Starting now and over time, we’ll work with all of our suppliers in a Race to The Top to improve product sustainability and quality and reduce cost.”

Staples is first asking its key suppliers to address environmentally sustainable packaging priorities in the next six months to reduce impacts on natural resources by using less or alternative packaging materials for products. This includes packaging improvements for the company’s delivery and retail businesses as well as for bulk shipments received from suppliers.

Staples’ strategy includes collaboratively developing sustainability scorecards for products and packaging that will track design innovations and environmental attributes. The retailer says the supplier scorecard designations will increasingly be scientifically-based and focused on the sustainability attributes that matter most for particular types of products.

Retailers and manufacturers, including Wal-Mart and P&G, are launching supplier scorecards as part of their efforts to reduce packaging in the supply chain and to improve their supply chain’s environmental impact.

Staples’ efforts in product and packaging sustainability over the past few years include the introduction of 50 percent post-consumer recycled Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper as the standard offering for high-speed black and white copying, the launch of a nationwide in-store technology recycling program, and the introduction of its own brand of recycled content copy and print papers certified by the FSC.

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