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Wal-Mart outlines new supply chain sustainability initiatives; pushes suppliers to become more green

Beijing -- Wal-Mart Stores announced a series of initiatives to make the company's supply chain in the United States, China and around the world more sustainable.

At an event in Beijing with government officials, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), academics, suppliers and company associates, the company said it will use the Sustainability Index to design more sustainable products, make its global supply chain more socially and environmentally accountable and responsible, and incentivize merchants to make sustainability a bigger part of their day-to-day jobs. By the end of 2017, Walmart said it will buy 70% of the goods it sells in U.S. stores and in U.S. Sam's Clubs only from suppliers in the United States, China, and around the world who use the Index to evaluate and share the sustainability of their products. (The change will involve suppliers who produce goods in categories where the Index is available.)

“Today I’m proud to announce a series of steps and commitments that will make Walmart’s supply chain, in the United States, here in China, and around the world, more sustainable," said Mike Duke, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “The impact of these commitments will be global and make a difference with products sold around the globe.”

Other commitments include:

  • Beginning in 2013, Walmart will use the Sustainability Index to influence the design of its U.S. private brand products.
  • Walmart will change the way its key global sourcing merchants are evaluated so that sustainability becomes an even more important part of buyers' day-to-day jobs. Beginning in 2013, these buyers will join key buyers in Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club who already have specific sustainability objectives on their annual evaluations.
  • The Walmart Foundation will grant $2 million to fund The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) and assist in its efforts in launching TSC in China. TSC is an independent research organization. Using the Walmart Foundation grant, TSC China will engage industries, universities and other experts to form a global network of leaders improving sustainability in consumer goods, and will provide tools and resources to help suppliers become more sustainable and competitive. Walmart will use the results of TSC’s independent work to refine its Sustainability Index for use in China.

“The $2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation will support the Consortium and position us to help bring the best science and research to support the development of the green supply chain here in China and globally,” said Kara Hurst, CEO of The Sustainability Consortium.

© 2014