Helping the Steel City Reach its Sustainability Goals

Sep 5, 2023   |   ODP Business Solutions

An Old Legacy Going in a New Direction

With a long and rich industrial history, the city of Pittsburgh is known by many as “The Steel City”. However, the environmental consequences of this legacy prompted the need for change and the development of strong sustainability goals and initiatives. The city eagerly took on this challenge, becoming a national sustainability leader and one of the first U.S. cities to formally integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into its planning. In 2020, ODP Business Solutions™, or ODP, was contracted by the city to help meet its expanding sustainability goals.

Setting and Accomplishing Big Goals

Long known for its hard work ethic, Pittsburgh has applied that focus to sustainability and achieved many milestones including:

• One of the first local governments in the U.S. to measure greenhouse gas emissions.
• A leader in the green buildings movement, with hundreds of LEED certified developments.
• Jobs in renewable energy outnumber the combined total of those in coal, oil, and natural gas sectors.
• Part of 15 cities globally, and one of two in the U.S., committed to the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement.
• Member of the Urban Transition Alliance committed to inclusive and sustainable urban development.


The City of Pittsburgh aims to reduce carbon emissions of the city administration by 75% by 2023

Still, the City’s fossil fuel legacy and air & water quality remain barriers in meeting sustainability goals. Through a process-oriented procurement approach, with change starting as a pilot and then scaling up across teams and departments, Pittsburgh is aiming to reduce carbon emissions of the City administration by 75% by 2023. This includes targets of operating a fossilfuel- free fleet, using 100% renewable energy to run city facilities, cutting transportation emissions citywide by 50%, divesting the city pension fund from fossil fuels, becoming a zero-waste city, and reducing energy and water use by 50% in city facilities.

A Proactive Approach to Building Partnership

At the beginning of the relationship, ODP Business Solutions was one of several vendors Pittsburgh approved for the procurement of office supplies. Several initiatives undertaken with ODP began to demonstrate the value of partnering and ODP was able to separate itself and move forward as the city’s preferred office products provider. The primary core competencies displayed included:

• The ODP Business Solutions GreenerPurchasing program, with advanced sustainability reporting capabilities. ODP provided a thorough summary of green purchasing through visual depiction of spend that enabled the City to easily identify opportunities to optimize & track green spend over time.
• The ODP Business Solutions GreenerOffice™ Delivery Service bag & tote program replaced bulky cardboard boxes with much smaller & lighter recyclable paper bags, reducing waste. ODP Business Solutions provides a quarterly report that quantifies the impact of this service.
• The thousands of products and rating system offered by The Green Book enabled the city to define purchasing priorities across specific product categories, economic goals, and sustainability goals.


Through a proactive, transparent, and authentic approach to partnership that demonstrated a shared passion for sustainability, ODP Business Solutions showed a strong commitment to Pittsburgh’s sustainability goals. Success was achieved by listening to city leaders, learning about their needs, and patiently walking them through each step of the process. This success led to an expansion of ODP Business Solutions’ capabilities into other areas, including the city’s water filtration program and technology solutions.

An Ongoing Quest for Sustainability

The results ODP Business Solutions generated include:

• Increased monthly sales on office products, including janitorial, throughout the partnership.
• Significant GHG emission reduction and plastic usage cut-downs by reducing bottled water delivery by more than 50%.
• A heightened investment in technology solutions.

The success of the partnership has enabled an ongoing relationship with the City, and ODP Business Solutions is primed to capture more opportunities, particularly in the asset disposition, furniture, and janitorial spaces. But perhaps most important of all was the recognition and gratitude from the City of Pittsburgh. An email to ODP’s Sarah Webb, Major Account Executive, spoke highly of what had been accomplished, “...thank you for the work you’ve done so far to help the City of Pittsburgh achieve its Sustainable Procurement goals. As a City, and as a procurement department, we have set ambitious sustainability goals, and we consider ODP Business Solutions a key partner in achieving these goals.”

“We have ambitious sustainibility goals, and we consider ODP Business Solutions a key partner in achieving these goals.”


ODP Business Solutions has several competitively solicited contracts available through OMNIA Partners to help customers achieve business results across every industry. Let ODP Business Solutions be your sustainability partner.

ODP and ODP Business Solutions are trademarks of ODP Business Solutions, LLC. © 2023 ODP Business Solutions, LLC. All rights reserved.

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