Office Depot’s Yalmaz Siddiqui Talks About Reaching Consumers Across the Green Spectrum

Posted on 10. Sep, 2010 by in Business & Policy, Interviews

When he became Office Depot’s director of environmental strategy in 2006, Yalmaz Siddiqui introduced a strategic framework that has become central to Office Depot’s environmental efforts: Buy green, sell green, be green.

The simple statement stretches across every aspect of the company’s operations, including procurement for its own use and for resale; efforts to reduce waste and the carbon footprint of its internal operations; and expanding the scope and scale of its environmental program to not only respond to customer demands, but proactively seek new solutions to meet their needs.

To accomplish that third goal in the B2B and B2C marketplace, Siddiqui says it’s important to recognize one important point: Green is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

“Different customers are different shades of green, and we can have the greatest impact by taking an inclusive position and recognizing that it’s a journey,” he says.

At Opportunity Green, Siddiqui will join Jeff Mendelsohn, president and co-founder of New Leaf Paper, to talk about Office Depot’s most recent “be green” project, a life cycle analysis of its 100% post-consumer recycled copy paper, which New Leaf supplies. Office Depot and New Leaf worked with the MIT Media Lab and the Carbon Trust to track the paper’s carbon footprint through every link in the supply chain, to create an on-product label reporting total environmental impact in terms of carbon.

“We’ll be telling the story of our desire to understand the life cycle of this product and the practical elements of how we did that, to share what we’ve learned so far and help others do the same thing with their products.”

Siddiqui says the Opportunity Green conference represents the arrival of a new way of looking at what it means to be green: “Opportunity Green is a unique conference because it focuses on the 80% of the green marketplace—the small and medium-size businesses and corporations that are just beginning to take this on,” he says. “That’s where we want to be. We want to help customers find the opportunity in green, find savings, and find where they can innovate using a green lens. It’s part of a new,  more inclusive approach focused on profit and innovation rather than purity and perfection.”

Written by AHA! for Opportunity Green.

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