Office Depot Sustainability Report: Big on Data, Short on Words

by | Oct 18, 2013

Office Depot carbon energyOffice Depot’s North American operations reduced their carbon intensity by nine percent last year, from 17.1 lbs CO2e per square ft in 2011 to 15.5 in 2012, according to its 2013 corporate citizenship report.

The metric is down 30 percent from 2008 and 46 percent from 2003.

On an absolute basis, the company cut its North American carbon emissions 12 percent last year, from 281,000 metric tons CO2e in 2011 to 246,400 in 2012. It notes, however, that the EPA’s emissions factors were updated in 2012, resulting in a 5 percent decrease in emissions.

Absolute emissions fell 43 percent from 2003 levels, helping Office Depot to achieve a carbon reduction goal one year ahead of schedule, and winning the company an EPA Climate Leadership Award. The company says it has updated its 2003-2008 emissions data to include estimated HFC fugitive emissions from air conditioning, based on EPA guidelines.

Office Depot’s purchases of renewable electricity credits for its US operations fell off by 65 percent last year to 15,000 MWh, after a short rise to 42,300 MWh in 2011, taking REC purchases back down to the level seen in 2009, and roughly the level of 2010. This means that REC purchases last year stood at 4 percent, down from 10 percent in 2011. The company has flagged this drop as representing an “important opportunity,” on the color-coded environmental dashboard in the report, but the report does not explain why renewable electricity purchases dropped.

Net of offsets, the company’s carbon footprint shrank by 8 percent over the course of last year.

In North America in 2012, versus the previous year, the company nearly doubled its LEED-certified square footage, to 1.69 million sq ft; and boosted its square footage of Energy Star-certified facilities by 30 percent, to 850,000 sq ft.

Office Depot carbon footprint 2003 - 2007


Office Depot carbon footprint 2008 - 2012

Report overview

The report provides a wealth of data, presented as several large data tables and graphs in the last few pages. One set of tables, titled the North American Environmental Dashboard, includes over 100 metrics in three categories – Buy Greener, Be Greener and Sell Greener – with measurements for the years 2003-2012. The company also presents percent changes over the past year, five years and ten years; and color-codes these results as “improvement opportunity,” “neutral trend” or “positive trend.” It also indicates where data was third-party reviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and which GRI indicators the metrics align with. (Data in this article refers to North American operations only, unless otherwise noted.)

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