School Specialty, Inc. recently joined Green Business Bureau and will leverage the GBB platform and apps to manage their sustainability initiatives and track their progress. The company is committed to protecting the environment, engaging employees and customers in their sustainability efforts, and saving money through more efficient operations. They will be using the GBB framework and online tools to become greener and meet their sustainability goals.


With a 60-year legacy, School Specialty is a leading provider of comprehensive learning environments for the preK-12 education marketplace in the U.S. and Canada. School Specialty believes every student can flourish in an environment where they are engaged and inspired to learn and grow.  In support of our vision to transform more than classrooms by improving learning outcomes and district performance, the company applies its unmatched team of subject-matter experts and designs, manufactures and distributes a broad assortment of name brand and proprietary products to deliver upon its unique value proposition – including essential classroom supplies, furniture and design services, educational technology, science curriculum, supplemental learning resources, professional development, funding assistance and more.

Sustainability in the Classroom

School Specialty joined Green Business Bureau for two primary reasons:

  • The organization was looking for an opportunity to take small steps towards becoming a more environmentally friendly organization for both customers and employees.  As a distributor of highly consumable products, it was important for them to look internally at what they could, and should, be doing to reduce their large footprint.
  • As School Specialty thoroughly canvased and evaluated green certification platforms and partners, Green Business Bureau stood out as the clear leader and the right fit given step-by-step guidance and personal attention and support.  Being new to green certification can be daunting and overwhelming, but GBB set the right tone and the right pace to get started, ramped, and engaged towards a successful implementation of greening and sustainability across their distribution centers and across the company.

Making the Grade

Some of the areas that were most helpful to getting started towards green certification for School Specialty were Green Business Bureau’s EcoAssessment™ and EcoPlanner™ tools.  The GBB EcoAssessment tool was used to assess where the company was on day one, and provided transparency on their existing green business practices, and illuminated areas of sustainability importance to consider and implement.  As they started achieving more initiatives based on GBB’s EcoPlanner tool, the company had a real roadmap to follow and a realistic outlook to sustainability.

Low Effort, High Impact Green Initiatives

Like many organizations, School Specialty initially focused on low-hanging fruit such as recycling of paper, cardboard, electronics, ink toner, batteries, lightbulbs, and plastic throughout their office spaces and packaging departments.  They also upgraded their lighting and automated lighting, reduced office space by allowing employees to work remotely, used productivity tools like Skype for meetings to reduce travel and expenses, and installed filtered water stations for reusable water bottles in the cafeteria.

Goals for Higher Education

Moving forward, the company is focused on educating their internal teams about what it means to take small steps for sustainability both at home and in the workplace, and they are committed to further educating and demonstrating their environmental leadership and stewardship to their local communities and the schools they serve.  Additionally, they plan to offer green products to their customers along with soliciting green grant funding suggestions to purchase green products and building changes for deserving institutions.

Our commitment to creating a more sustainable environment for both our employees and customers aligns well with our vision of Transforming More than Classrooms, and we are excited to have GBB as a valued partner with us on this journey.

 – Stacey Rubin, School Specialty

Final Exam

For such a large organization tasked with the burden of supplying the students and teachers of the US and Canada, School Specialty has a real passion for not only education but for the environment and how their organization coexists and impacts the current and future generations of students and faculty.  Their commitment and excitement for greening their organization is infectious, and their drive to inspire their employees, customers, vendors, and local communities to think and act greener will insure their successful transition and leadership moving forward.

For more information about School Speciality, please visit

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