Walmart's Drive to Improve Product Sustainability
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by Megan Brown on 10/22/2009
Suppliers should be submitting their sustainability index assessment.
Walmart's Sustainability Index, the Sustainability Consortium and its Assessment of suppliers is generating buzz and raising questions. There are many opinions on the timing of the Index and how the suppliers will ultimately be rated. But what seems to be clear and consistent is that Wal-Mart wants to improve product sustainability. They seem focused on working on a better way to drive innovation, leadership, standards and recognition for measuring and reducing a product's environmental impact. The key is economics says Kevin Dooley, Ph.D. a professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business. He says that the economics need to make sense for organizations but improving a product's sustainability usually also generates cost savings among other benefits.
So what is next for Walmart suppliers? The 15-question Supplier Sustainability Assessment encompasses Walmart’s efforts to gather more information on its suppliers, engage them in the process and have a standardized set of information.
The Assessment is divided into four areas:
- Energy and Climate
- Natural Resources
- Material Efficiency
- People and Community
Suppliers will benefit by taking steps toward measuring and documenting their environmental impact before they can make changes and improvements either at a corporate or product level. Here are some resources to facilitate this process.
Below is a quote that Walmart has released about their direction and mission.
“The index will bring about a more transparent supply chain, drive product innovation and, ultimately, provide consumers the information they need to assess the sustainability of products. If we work together, we can create a new retail standard for the 21st century.”
Mike Duke, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Walmart Sustainability Milestone Meeting, July 16, 2009
Learn about about GHG inventories and the Carbon Disclosure Project at our Resource Center.
Megan Brown is the Client Relations Manager for Renewable Choice.