For the fourth time in five years, Office Depot has recognized the University of Notre Dame with the Leadership in Greener Purchasing Award for the higher education sector. After evaluating the purchasing patterns of approximately 1,000 of its largest customers, Office Depot named Notre Dame among an elite group of 19 recipients.
According to goals laid out by the University’s sustainability strategy, the procurement, licensing and food sourcing small working group set a goal to increase the purchase of sustainable goods through the identification of product offerings in catalogs. Procurement Services added Office Depot’s Green Book Digital Catalog and Green Select Cart to buyND to help individuals who purchase supplies more easily identify greener product options.
“Office Depot has created a way for our faculty and staff to identify the green products. This option allows University offices and departments to make conscious decisions to buy green products,” said Gilberto Carles, senior director of procurement services.
Office Depot reports that about 18 percent of purchases made by all of its clients are green products. Notre Dame ended the 2020 fiscal year with 33.9 percent green spending with Office Depot, which is nearly 16 percentage points higher than the average.
Seventy-one percent of the University’s green purchasing fell into the copy paper category.
“With Office Depot’s support, Procurement Services developed a campaign to communicate to campus users that recycled copy paper was a good option. An additional benefit to this green paper was that the price was more competitive. A win-win for all,” Carles said.
Notre Dame’s purchase of recycled copy paper is equal to saving 103.8 tons of wood, 2,138 pounds of waste, 264.6 BTUs of energy, 274.74 pounds of carbon, and 40,880 gallons of water.
The Office of Information Technologies (OIT) is the University’s primary purchaser of recycled copy paper, using it for student-facing printers. In 2018, at the suggestion of Procurement, OIT switched to copy paper with 30 percent recycled content. Not only was the switch better for the environment, but the change resulted in a cost savings of 14.3 percent.
In addition to the environmental benefits of purchasing recycled copy paper, Office Depot planted 582 trees on behalf of Notre Dame through the Arbor Day Foundation’s TreeUp project, which supports animal habitat and reforestation projects across the country.
Notre Dame received its first Leadership in Greener Purchasing Award in 2016. In June 2016, Procurement Services implemented a policy requiring vendors to include a sustainability clause in their requests for proposal.