We know we have a powerful role to play in helping people live better through access to affordable, sustainable products. At the center of our efforts is the conviction that people shouldn’t have to choose between products that save them money and products that have minimal impact on our environment. Our core customers shop at Wal-Mart to get the best value for their money, and when it comes to sustainability, we are dedicated to providing them with that same value. With all of our products, we want to provide our customers with the assurance that not only are they getting value and quality, but they are getting a product that was produced in a socially responsible manner. To help us deliver on these goals, we have created Sustainable Value Networks (SVNs). Over time, our networks will help us provide our customers with more sustainable and affordable products, while also reducing waste.
New Markets for Consumer Products
Our efforts to develop new markets for sustainable technologies have moved beyond logistics and operations and on to our store shelves. One great example is a product developed through a partnership with Unilever that explored how we could dramatically reduce the packaging on All® detergent. In February 2006, Unilever unveiled All Small-and-Mighty®, an innovative product that is three-times concentrated and contains enough detergent for the same 32 loads as a 100-ounce bottle. With this product, Unilever estimates yearly savings of 11.5 million pounds of packaging waste and 864,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
In addition to detergent, we are working with suppliers to develop “Extended Roll Life” products that condense several rolls of either toilet paper or paper towels onto one “Extended Roll Life” roll. For example, the Charmin® 6 Mega Roll pack contains the same amount of toilet paper as a regular Charmin 24-roll pack. By selling twice as many Charmin® 6 Mega Roll packs, we can ship 42 percent more units on our trucks, eliminate 89.5 million cardboard roll cores, eliminate 360,087 pounds of plastic wrapping and reduce our diesel consumption by 53,966 gallons.
To eliminate non-paper waste associated with paper products, we are working with suppliers to eliminate the wrapping from individual paper towel rolls that are sold as a multiple unit package. By reducing a small amount of plastic from one type of product, we can eliminate hundreds of pounds of trash from landfills every year.
Beyond the money and energy we save, lies the potential to create new markets for these products, which happens when our competitors begin selling these products as well. Ultimately, this competition within markets can lead to significant savings in cost, CO2 emissions and packaging that are far greater than what we could do alone.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
A product like compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) is one example of how we are making it easier for our customers to be part of the carbon solution. Converting just one conventional light bulb to a CFL can save a customer up to $30 in electric costs over the lifetime of the bulb, as well as prevent more than 110 pounds of coal from being burned and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 450 pounds. We challenged ourselves by setting a goal to sell 100 million CFLs by 2008, and in October of 2007 we reached that goal. In doing so, we’re enabling our customers to be part of the climate change solution, and we expect to save our customers $3 billion in energy costs and prevent 700 million incandescent bulbs from reaching landfills. Moreover, we will prevent 25 million tons of carbon dioxide from being released, which is the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the road.