Office Depot Strengthens Protections for Forests(A)
Office Depot announced this week that it is significantly strengthening its policies to protect endangered forests and biodiversity, which Trillium Asset Management and other investor groups have encouraged the company to do for the past 18 months. The new policies include commitments to not buy products that come from rare and vulnerable forests, forests containing exceptional biodiversity values, or natural forests being converted to tree plantations. In addition, Office Depot has committed $2.2 million to form the Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in collaboration with three environmental groups: NatureServe, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy. The new alliance will work to identify and protect endangered forests that fall under Office Depot’s new policy. Office Depot also recently cancelled its contracts with Asia Pulp and Paper because of the company’s logging practices in endangered forests in Indonesia.
Two years ago, Trillium Asset Management worked with environmental groups and other social investors to persuade Staples to commit to dramatically increase its sale of recycled paper products and phase out products from endangered forests. We then asked Office Depot to make similar commitments. Last year on Earth Day, Office Depot announced a new Environmental Paper Procurement Policy. That policy met Staples’ commitments to increase sale of recycled paper products, but we felt it fell short of Staples’ endangered forest commitments. We met several times over the past year with Office Depot’s senior management to encourage them to strengthen the company’s environmental policies, and celebrate the company’s new environmental intiatives and protections for endangered forests.