Office Depot Supports Green Business Challenge

(3BL Media and Just Means)- I love when sustainability professionals know their decisions are one part of a much larger story. Office Depot, headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida operates with the next generation in mind.

“What do you want your story to be in the next six months? One year? Ten years?” asks Yalmaz Siddiqui, Senior Director of Environmental and Supplier Diversity Strategy at Office Depot.

As part of The Green Business Challenge, Siddiqui and his team spoke to a group of West Palm Beach, Florida business leaders about implementing sustainability. According to Siddiqui, green purchasing is the most powerful way a business can make impact and save money.

“We are all part of supply chains. We need to elevate the importance of green purchasing because the aggregate impact is much larger,” says Siddiqui.

Office Depot views green purchasing in “shades of green, depending on their environmental benefits relative to other products in their category.” Office Depot’s sustainability department has tracked and categorized every product into the Green Book, a green, buyer’s guide—no small feat for an office supply company with thousands of products. The Green Book segments products into light green, green and dark green categories. Environmental benefits are based on reduced waste, reduced energy and reduced chemical use for each product category. They are also marked for attributes like remanufactured, plant-based, carbon-balanced and chlorine-free among others. Third-party certifications for each product are also identified such as Forest Stewardship Council, BPI Certified Compostable and EPEAT. Participants of the Green Business Challenge in West Palm Beach received copies of Office Depot’s Green Book and were encouraged by Siddiqui to “make the switch” for their office purchasing.

West Palm Beach was chosen as one of four cities to receive a $20,000 grant for the Green Business Challenge. Founding organization, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, ICLEI, states that 78 businesses have saved $180,000 and reduced CO2 by 1,823 tons. For West Palm Beach, the purpose of the challenge is also about building a long-term vision for the city. Matt Ferrer, Sustainability Program Coordinator at the City of West Palm Beach, says the Green Business Challenge aims to bring traditional and nontraditional businesses together.

“We’re building a community to help move the city forward toward a more sustainable future,” says Ferrer.

Yes we are. And, I for one, am excited to be part of this story! Check out the Green Business Challenge. See what it looks like in West Palm Beach. Green your supply chain with a free copy of Office Depot’s Green Book. Check out their GreenerOffice site.