Office Depot Recognizes Chicago Green Office Challenge Winners

June 4, 2012

Office Depot recognizes winners of Chicago Green Office ChallengeOffice Depot, ICLEI and Mayor Rahm Emanuel honor and award winners of Chicago Green Office Challenge, an innovated program helping local businesses save 124 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and more than 85,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, which is equal to removing more than 16,000 cars off streets of Chicago.

Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE: ODP), a leading global provider of office supplies and services, in partnership with ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability USA, and the City of Chicago, celebrated the winners of Chicago’s second annual Green Office Challenge during an Award & Recognition ceremony attended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Green Office Challenge offers an opportunity for businesses and property managers to gain recognition for their green achievements, while helping them save energy and money, and providing them with a competitive advantage in green innovations.

The Chicago Green Office Challenge was initially piloted in 2010 with Office Depot serving as the primary underwriter of the challenge and directly supporting key aspects of the initial program development. In 2011, that partnership expanded to four additional local governments (Austin, Texas; Bellevue, Wash.; Chula Vista, Calif.; and the Triangle J Council of Governments, N.C.) who have rolled out their own Green Business Challenges, modeling Chicago’s.

“The Chicago Green Office Challenge is an innovative and highly scalable model for public-private partnerships focused on sustainability,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of Environmental Strategy for Office Depot. “Office Depot is pleased to have been there at the start to help launch the Chicago program. We are excited that other cities have followed Chicago’s lead with Office Depot’s support; and are happy to congratulate the winners of Chicago’s Round Two for their extensive efforts to go greener.”

Nearly 150 property managers and tenant companies located in Chicago’s downtown business district participated in the Challenge. These participants worked to set and achieve specific green goals over the course of 2011. Strategies to achieve these goals were put in motion and supported through monthly training events. Crucial funding support to enable development and execution of the program was provided by Office Depot.

“Chicago’s efforts in sustainability have created economic opportunity throughout our neighborhoods and dramatically improved the overall quality of life for residents,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The Green Office Challenge is a great example of the private sector working with government to reduce costs and create jobs while protecting the environment.”

Some of the most noteworthy achievements of the 2011 Challenge include:
• A reduction of more than 124 million kilowatt-hours of electricity – equivalent to the energy used by 45,000 homes.
• Keeping more than 85,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – equal to removing more than 16,000 cars off Chicago streets.
• $17.5 million saved by property managers who reduced electricity use.
• 53 business district buildings diverted an average of over 43 percent of waste from landfills in 2011.

“Congratulations to Mayor Emanuel, the City of Chicago, and Chicago’s downtown businesses for another successful year of the Green Office Challenge,” said Michael Schmitz, ICLEI USA executive director. “ICLEI is proud to help drive such an innovative program. We are working to share Chicago’s success and experience with local governments around the country, who are launching their own Green Business Challenge programs that will lead to incredible energy and resource savings for their local businesses.”

Photo Credit: Flickr/Wright Way Photography