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Staples Signs Sourcing Agreement with the Rainforest Alliance
New York – Staples, the world’s largest office products company, has signed an agreement with the Rainforest Alliance to analyze and improve the environmental and social footprint of the company’s paper supply.

Staples has enrolled in the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartSource program, a customized service for companies and organizations that want to examine and improve their forest-product purchasing policies and practices. The goal of the program is to assist a company with establishing responsible purchasing policies and implementing a responsible sourcing program that, gradually but steadily moves suppliers toward more sustainable practices and FSC-certified sourcing. Other companies participating in the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartSource program include Scholastic, The Coca Cola Company, Gibson, Unilever and Kraft.

“Staples’ commitment to sustainability goes largely unspoken,” said Mark Comolli, director of the Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable forestry market program. “Through their powerful market influence, they have been able to help change the market and spur companies and forest managers to practice responsible forest management. Their continued efforts will help to conserve biodiversity and provide sustainable livelihoods for forest workers and communities.”

This agreement is an important part of Staples’ ongoing work to move the majority of paper products it offers by weight in the U.S. to FSC certification by the end of 2010, based on availability of supply and market conditions.

Currently, all 1,550 Staples Copy & Print Centers nationwide use 50 percent FSC-recycled* paper as the standard offering for high-speed black and white copies. In addition, the retailer has encouraged its suppliers to improve their forest management practices and seek FSC certification, rather than seeking new FSC-certified sources. Staples has increased purchases from Domtar, a Canadian paper company offering high volumes of FSC-certified paper. In 2008, the company disengaged with Singapore-based Asia Pulp & Paper, one of the world’s largest paper companies, because of the supplier’s poor environmental record.

“Sustainability is a core part of how Staples operates its business and makes decisions about the products we offer customers,” said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs at Staples. “Rainforest Alliance is a tremendous resource as we seek paper suppliers that share our commitments to producing sustainable paper-based products, conserving and protecting forests and supporting local communities.”

FSC is the global standard-setter in responsible forest management. Its chain-of-custody certification guarantees that the wood from certified, responsibly managed forestlands is tracked throughout the supply chain, from the forest to the consumer. Conscientious consumers can look for the FSC label on wood or paper products to know they are supporting forest management that protects biodiversity and supports local communities.

FSC certification ensures that forestry operations meet a set of environmental, social and economic criteria covering compliance with laws and international treaties, land-use and indigenous peoples’ rights, community relations, biodiversity conservation and maintenance of high-conservation value forests.

The Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit conservation organization, is the world’s leading certifier of forestlands to FSC standards. To date, the organization has certified over 375 forest operations, covering some 130 million acres (53 million hectares) of forest area (roughly an area equivalent to the size of France or four times the size of New York state), and over 2,700 chain-of-custody certified operations that buy, sell and distribute FSC-certified products in 65 countries around the world.

For more information on the Rainforest Alliance, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org.

[Editor’s Note:
*The FSC-recycled label can be found on an assortment of wood and paper products and is the only recycled label in the marketplace that is rigorously audited and truly meaningful.]

Rainforest Alliance
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2009
Contact: Abby Ray, 646-452-1939, aray@ra.org

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