Our commitment to sustainability


Our Story

Sustainability is something we take very seriously. It’s a journey we’ve been on for over a decade, and in that time we’ve taken a lot of steps to reduce our impact on the environment. There is always more to learn and we are constantly looking for new ways to expand our efforts.

Our business practices are completely transparent and each year we review our environmental impact and assess where and how we can make improvements.

Since starting our sustainability initiatives, we’ve received ISO 14001 and Enviro-Mark® NZ Diamond certifications for our New Zealand operations and have been named one of the ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’ by the Ethisphere Institute, but our commitment doesn’t stop within our own company. We work with our partners, suppliers, employees and customers to minimise any negative environmental and social impacts from our own operations, and from the products and services we provide.

How are we doing?

The ability to change starts in our own back yard. That’s why we take the time to educate our people first, followed by our stakeholders.

  • 2001. We formalised our Health, Safety & Environment work programme and assigned representatives to encourage these initiatives throughout our organisation.
  • 2004. We joined the Packaging Council of New Zealand. Their philosophy has always been to promote a whole-of-life approach to balancing environmental, health and safety impacts/outcomes and economics throughout a product’s lifecycle.
  • 2005. We introduced our EcoMax Range  of nearly 800 products with environmental credentials which included descriptions agreed upon by the Ministry for the Environment. The introduction of EcoMax allowed our customers to make informed choices and meet their own personal sustainability goals.
  • 2007. We received an Enviro-Mark®NZ Gold certification for our three main operations. This was upgraded to Enviro-Mark® NZ Diamond across our entire organisation in 2009.

  • 2008. We expanded our range of Fair Trade products and launched “Paper Pig” reusable cardboard recycling trays to customers. For every tray purchased, we donate a percentage of the sales to CCS Disability Action. In house, we switched from plastic bubble wrap to recycled paper filler in our distribution centres and electronic invoices were promoted. Office waste bins were replaced with desktop cubes to maximise our recycling efforts.
  • 2009. Health, Safety & Sustainability Manager, Julie Roberts, won Employee of the Year in the Sustainability category at the annual Packaging Council Awards. OfficeMax was presented the Manukau Business Excellence Award in both the Sustainability category and the Health & Safety category.
  • 2009. Our Promise Tree Project was launched amongst three South Auckland schools, teaching Year 5 students ways to cultivate a clean and green future.
  • 2010. We initiated a fleet car replacement programme and promoted video conferencing between NZ and Australia offices as well as locally to minimise fuel emissions and reduced trans-Tasman flights by two-thirds! Our “Power Savers” programme reduced energy consumption by 5% and landfill programmes reduced landfill waste by 10%.
  • 2011. We gained ISO 14001 accreditation, which we still hold.
  • 2012. OfficeMax was named one of the ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’ by the Ethisphere Institute and our Director of Merchandise, Richard Meares, was nominated into the executive committee of the Packaging Council of New Zealand as a representative of Distribution & Sales for Wholesale.
  • 2013. OfficeMax joined the Sustainable Business Council (SBC), which is a group of CEO-led companies that have a leading role in creating a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. We were named one of the ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’ by the Ethisphere Institute for the second year in a row.
  • 2014. Packaging Buyer, Bruce Campbell, was nominated into the executive committee of the Packaging Council of New Zealand as a representative of Distribution & Sales for Wholesale.

A unique Environmental Management System

We’ve developed our very own Environmental Management System (EMS) designed to control documentation and help us better understand the impact our operations and activities have on the environment. It not only helps us to achieve our sustainability goals, but encourages and inspires us to keep improving our sustainability efforts.

Our system is a series of steps that begins with an environmental policy initiative driven by our Health, Safety & Sustainability manager. The policy is our basis for setting targets and objectives to reduce any negative environmental or social impacts from our own operations, products and services.

We evaluate our performance against these set objectives to see if our sustainability goals are being met and if not, we’ll make the necessary steps to fix it. Our evaluation is then reviewed by our senior leadership team who will set new targets in a revised plan. Through this cycle we are able to continually set new objectives with the ultimate goal of total sustainability in the future.

Would you like to view our Environmental Policy? Click here.

Click here for our Environmental Scope, which outlines the extent and boundaries of our EMS. 

Our Sustainability Programmes

What sets us apart from the rest on our path to sustainability? The commitment of our people.

From the very beginning we’ve had a high level of participation from our employees at every level. We have a Health, Safety & Sustainability team at all of our NZ locations to implement our sustainable work programmes and work with staff to engage them in these initiatives.

Every year we host a Health, Safety & Sustainability conference with our HS&S reps to review our current efforts, assess our environmental impact and identify areas where we can improve in the upcoming year.

Supply chain management

It’s not enough for us to be doing all we can – we also expect that our suppliers are squeaky clean when it comes to the environment too.

To better understand their commitment to sustainability, we ask all of our suppliers for a copy of their environmental policy. Audits are also done on the life cycle of a range of randomly chosen products, with checks including manufacturing process, packaging, labelling and end-of-life options. We’ve become mentors to some of our suppliers to help them drive their own sustainability programmes.

Fuel reduction

We’ve already reduced our fuel consumption by 5% in 2014 thanks to our ongoing fuel reduction programme. And for our ground fleet, we switched to Bridgestone’s Ecopia tyres – the world’s first carboNZero tyres. We also work with our delivery partners, CourierPost and PBT, to optimise their delivery routes in order to reduce fuel consumption.

Waste reduction

Through waste management and recycling initiatives on our site locations, we’ve been able to reduce Waste2Landfill by 9% and increase recycling by 13% in 2014. By using ‘on call’ waste management services, bins are only collected only when they are full, minimising the amount of waste going to the landfill.

Power consumption reduction

Over the past five years we’ve worked to actively minimise our energy consumption. In the first two years alone we were able to reduce our consumption by an impressive 26%! Since then we’ve been able to consistently decrease our usage by 5% year after year.

Monitoring hazardous substances

We are completely compliant with the Hazard Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) legislation through our fully integrated compliance programme. This includes a hazardous substance register, merchandise training, internal approved handler training, procedures for selecting, packing, and transportation and the disposal of known hazardous substances.

Our Products

We prefer to work with businesses that share our values, so for OfficeMax brand products our sourcing team in Shenzhen, China ensures we only work with suppliers and vendors that are as committed to sustainability as we are. For more information on our Business Partner Standards, click here.

EcoMax Products

There is no official standard to measure whether or not a product is environmentally preferable, so we’ve developed our own criteria. All of the products in our EcoMax range are highlighted with green text throughout our catalogues and have met our high standards for inclusion, including:

  • A minimum of 30% recycled content
  • Made from recycled plastics, or
  • Features one of these environmental labels

Be in charge of your own sustainability criteria by getting to know these labels.  We check with the Ministry for the Environment about the meaning of these environmental labels and ensure claimed sustainable attributes are factual.

How we can help you

Working together towards sustainability means we can cover more ground in less time! Here are a few ways we can work with you towards your own environmental goals:

  • Look for products with eco-labels like Environmental Choice, use recycled content or select from our EcoMax range. Choose products that can be recycled, reused or refilled when you’re finished with them.
  • Recycling inkjet cartridges and toners is easy with Croxley Recycling. They operate a nationwide collection service and will collect free of charge. We can provide you with your Croxley Recycling Collection box and when it’s full, just call Croxley to arrange pickup!
  • Many of our chairs and sofas can be re-upholstered, which we can arrange for you. Simply contact your OfficeMax Account Manager for more information about extending the life of your furniture.
  • Consolidate suppliers and combine orders to reduce deliveries to your workplace and reduce packaging.
  • Make practical changes. For example, save paper by printing double-sided as your default.
  • When choosing suppliers, consider their individual environmental integrity and sustainability goals.
  • When you order from OfficeMax, you can use our Freight Carbon Emissions Calculator for complete GHG Visibility. You’ll receive a true and accurate picture of the amount of carbon emissions produced from deliveries of your orders (including returns). Ask your OfficeMax Account Manager for more information.

Environmental Accreditations

For a list of environmental accreditations on products we sell, click here.

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