Office-products retail giant Office Depot, of Boca Raton, Florida, was the only retailer in the USA to crack the Top 10 in Newsweek’s 2011 Green Rankings.
Last year, Newsweek collaborated with environmental research firms Trucost and Sustainalytics in an effort to compare the actual environmental footprints, management (policies, programs, initiatives, controversies), and reporting practices of big companies in America and around the world. Office Depot placed 8th, well ahead of its retail rivals Staples, Best Buy, JC Penneys, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market.
Other Top 10 finishers were IBM, Hewlett Packard, Sprint/Nextel, Baxter, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Accenture, CA Technologies, and Nvidia. The full list can be reviewed here.
Trucost specializes in quantitative measurements of environmental performance and holds the most extensive data available on corporate environmental impacts. The company calculated the Environmental Impact Score for each company based on over 700 metrics, including greenhouse-gas emissions, water use, solid-waste disposal, and acid-rain emissions.
Sustainalytics is known for its credible and independent environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis and its vast universe of research coverage (including U.S., global and emerging markets companies). Its assessment of each company’s environmental policies, management systems, and programs informed the Environmental Management Score for this year’s Green Rankings.
Joining Office Depot in 2006, Yalmaz Siddiqui is the senior director for environmental strategy at the company. Instead of dwelling on the virtues of saving the planet to sell his vision, Siddiqui, he focuses on the business benefits, and ROI, of sustainability, particularly those that accrue to Office Depot’s customers.
Writing for Greenbiz.com, Mark Gunther reveals Office Depot’s three-dimensional strategy for corporate sustainability:
“It really is rare for me to invoke climate change or landfills or toxicity in my internal arguments,” Yalmaz says. “We’re in Florida. We’re not in San Francisco or the Pacific Northwest. Impassioned arguments about environmental issues don’t resonate.”…
This customer-centric approach helps explain what Office Depot can do, and what it can’t, when it comes to “green.” You won’t see solar on the roofs of Office Depot stores, at least for now, because the return on the investment is insufficient. You will see attention paid to energy efficiency because the ROI makes sense, and you will see even more attention paid to selling greener products because profits from those sales drop right to the bottom line. (Read more…)
Here is a $12 billion company who’s Best Green Practices are leading the way in the US retail environment, and who converts these practices to ROI. Others will be well-advised to study what they are doing right.
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