ForestEthics Report Card: Office Depot Gets Thumbs Up, Needs Work

green grades


Awareness about sustainably-farmed paper is relatively new among most corporations. Even the most progressive office supply companies, such as FedEx Office and Office Depot, only have environmental paper policies dating back to 2002. But that awareness is growing rapidly, thanks in large part to ForestEthics and the Dogwood Alliance’s Green Grades Report Card. In the third annual report card, ForestEthics praises both FedEx Office and Office Depot for their paper policies, while and PaperlinX are called out for their lack of progress in the sector.

FedEx and Office Depot have been working with ForestEthics for years, which explains their high grades of A- and B. FedEx, for example, takes pains to avoid sourcing paper from endangered forests, and the company recently announced that the majority of paper in its US copy centers will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. And Office Depot has the most detailed paper policy out of all the companies surveyed.

“These companies are making huge strides forward,”according to Daniel Hall, the Market Solutions Director at ForestEthics. “It was a pleasant surprise. They have made a lot of progress in previous years, and we weren’t sure how much additional progress they would be able to make in this round.”

But where Office Depot and FedEx thrive, companies including, PaperlinX, and Costco fail, receiving grades of F from ForestEthics. A large part of this, Hall explains, is because they are part of categories (Wholesale/Distributor Sector and General Retail Sector) that are new to the ForestEthics report card this year. Paper also isn’t seen as an integral part of business for many of these companies. As time goes on, Hall and ForestEthics expect their ratings to improve.

“If the scorecard serves as a wake-up call, that’s great. We also hope it will serve as an invitation to talk to us,” Hall said. And of course, a little public pressure to change never hurt anyone, either.


About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.