Sustainable product index
"If we work together, we can create a new retail standard for the 21st century."
– Mike Duke, president and CEO, Walmart
One of the biggest challenges consumers, retailers and suppliers face is measuring the sustainability of a product. Since 2009, we have been working relentlessly to develop the solution: a worldwide sustainable product index.
Walmart continues to work with more than 70 organizations, including NGOs, government agencies, academic institutions, suppliers, retailers and food service companies to conduct research and develop data, tools and protocols for a product sustainability measurement and reporting system (SMRS). Our objective is to create a more transparent supply chain, accelerate the adoption of best practices and drive product innovation. We are working hard to understand and improve the sustainability of our broad assortment of products so we can help our customers save money and live better.
Introduction of the sustainability index is taking place through three key phases:
Supplier sustainability assessment – We provided our more than 100,000 global suppliers with a brief survey to evaluate their own sustainability. The survey, taken by our top-tier suppliers by October 1, 2009, represents a key step toward enhancing transparency in our supply chain. We are continuing to roll out this assessment in our international markets.
Life cycle analysis database – We are working with The Sustainability Consortium in collaboration with suppliers, retailers, NGOs and government officials to conduct research and develop data and tools that will enable research-driven product sustainability measurement and reporting. This Consortium has active projects for eight product categories across three sector working groups, including Food, Beverage and Agriculture; Home and Personal Care; and Consumer Electronics. Additional sectors, including Toys, Paper and Apparel are being launched and will expand SMRS activity to 25 categories in 2011. In addition, the Retail Working Group of the Consortium is understanding how to most effectively use the Consortium's work to communicate consistently with our supply chains and customers to spread best practices and drive innovation. This working group currently includes seven major retailers and is expanding to cover additional global retailers.
We will be piloting use of this and other product and category sustainability information within our merchandising organization in the coming year. For example, we will pilot the sustainability index, made up of the output of The Sustainability Consortium's Home and Personal Care Working Group and the GreenWERCS™ tool developed as part of our Chemical Intensive Products Sustainable Value Network. This will be done with the merchants in our consumables business to determine how sustainability information can be integrated into our core business.
A simple tool for customers – Our goal is to improve the sustainability performance of the products our customers prefer. This is a long-term objective with an interim step, including development of merchant tools that will help our merchants understand and improve the sustainability of our products. Ultimately, we will provide our customers with information about products in a simple, easy-to-understand manner, helping them save money while they help their families, and the world, live better.