Monday, 20 July 2009

WalMart increases green pressure

Last Thursday Walmart announced that it will be developing a worldwide product index which will establish a single source of data for evaluating the sustainability of products.

The company has been pro-active in promoting sustainable products within its stores. As we reported at the time, since January last year it has required all of its suppliers to meet specific environmental, social and quality standards and made compliance with those standards part of its contracts.

This initiative will start with a survey of its 100,000+ suppliers around the world in the form of a questionnaire that will also serve as a tool for Walmart’s suppliers to evaluate their own sustainability efforts. The questions will focus on: energy and climate; material efficiency; natural resources, and; people and community. There's more information here.

Subsequently the company will help create a consortium of universities that will collaborate with suppliers, retailers, NGOs and government to develop a global database of information on the lifecycle of products. It will also partner with IT companies to create an open platform that will power the index.

The final stage is to translate the product information into a simple consumer rating to provide transparency into the quality and history of products.

With sales of $401bn for 2009 year end, Walmart is a force to be reckoned with. This initiative will certainly up the pressure on suppliers not only to address sustainability issues but also ensure they have the systems in place to record and monitor their actions, including, for instance, carbon emissions.

© The Green IT Review

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