Clothing, Accessories and Toys
We are working with our suppliers to introduce new and innovative products that can help our customers feel better about their purchases. In the past year, we have increased our offering of organic and alternative fiber clothing and bedding, and we started selling fully traceable gold and silver jewelry in our U.S. stores.
Around the world, we are working to integrate more sustainable fibers into our textiles offerings such as organic cotton or recycled fabrics.
Our Textiles Network is actively working to provide our customers with environmentally preferable and fashionable clothing options at affordable prices. We are working to integrate more sustainable fibers into our clothing and textiles and make 100 percent of the products sold under our Faded Glory private label more sustainable.
We are approaching this effort from two angles. First, we are working to include more alternative or recycled materials in the fabric of our Faded Glory product line. Second, we are looking at ways to improve packaging such as using tags that are made from recycled leather or eliminating individual polybags. We will measure this goal by comparing what we used in 2009 versus what is used in 2013, and we will continue to look beyond this goal for any dramatic innovations in our Faded Glory production process.
Currently, we are in the initial stages of making our textiles supply chain more sustainable by educating our buyers, product execution team and brand merchandisers about specific network goals. We are also increasing the number of products that use organic cotton, recycled polyester and other sustainable fibers. In addition, we have developed a list of key questions that we ask each of our textiles suppliers in order to learn about their sustainability efforts and initiatives. The list includes questions on recycling materials, reducing energy consumption, reducing toxic chemical usage, reusing fabric scraps, using alternative sustainable fabrics, knowing the origin of their product from cradle to grave, and measuring and reducing water use in the production cycle.
In 2008, we changed our strategy in relation to our purchases of organic cotton. Previously, Wal-Mart was the largest purchaser of raw organic cotton. This meant that we still needed to work with suppliers to mill, gin, dye and manufacture this cotton into products. We have decided to move away from purchasing raw cotton and instead move to purchasing merchandise made with organic cotton. Today, we are the largest purchaser of organic cotton products.
Wal-Mart Brazil placed a blanket on its shelves made from recycled plastic bottles. Each blanket is made of approximately 200 recycled PET bottles. Since February 2008, approximately 92,000 blankets have been sold at Wal-Mart Brazil stores, which have recycled 16.5 million PET bottles.
Seiyu has expanded its assortment of organic cotton and environmentally preferable cotton items. One line of cotton apparel, called EcoHeat, is a comfortable and warm winter base layer of clothing. Part of EcoHeat is made from cotton "linter," which is the short fiber portion of a cotton bloom that surrounds the cotton seed and is normally thrown away during processing. The clothing has doubled in sales in women's apparel and increased five times in men's apparel.
In India, through our joint venture partnership, we sell kitchen towels that are made from recycled fabric to our partner's company, Bharti Retail. This helps reduce the amount of water needed to grow additional cotton, chemicals that are needed to produce dyes and energy needed to manufacture new fabric.
We are also the largest retailer of jewelry in the world and want to have the confidence that the gems and minerals in our jewelry are extracted, refined, manufactured and sold in an environmentally and socially responsible way. This encompasses everything from promoting safe labor practices to minimizing any adverse social and ecological impact of jewelry production.
As a member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, we are identifying a diamond mine, a gold mine, a manufacturer and a third-party verification company to produce new products in environmentally and socially conscious ways and to test more transparent supply chain practices. By 2010, our goal is for 10 percent of our gold, silver and diamond jewelry offerings to be part of a fully traceable supply chain that meets Wal-Mart's ethical sourcing standards and criteria for responsible mining.
In July 2008, we introduced our "Love, Earth" jewelry line, which features 100 percent traceable gold and silver jewelryand is available at all Walmart stores, Sam's Club locations andat www.walmart.com. This is the first time a major retailer hasset standards for third-tier suppliers (mining industry) andestablished a line of jewelry that has 100 percent "traceability" —the ability to track the products from mining and refining tomanufacturing and distribution. In November 2008, we expanded the line to include 100 percent traceable diamonds available in 500 Walmart stores across the U.S. To date we have achieved traceability for more than 30 percent of the gold jewelry sold at Sam's Cluband more than 10 percent of the gold jewelry sold at Walmart.
Since our last report, we have learned more about jewelry packaging options and have decided that committing to use only biodegradable bags is not the best way to move our sustainability efforts forward because of concerns from our environmental partners about biodegradability. We have revised our goal to focus on improving the score that jewelry packaging receives in our packaging scorecard.
In 2008, we decided to eliminate the majority of jewelry pallets, and to date we have eliminated 91 percent. The remaining 9 percent is made from recycled materials. Additionally, we remain committed to converting all boxes to recycled materials by 2010. Already at Sam's Club, 100 percent of jewelry gift boxes are made from recycled materials.
Toys and Child Care Products
In 2008, we laid out a series of requirements for our suppliers in children's toys and child care products. These requirements included higher standards of product safety and quality. Suppliers were provided with new guidelines in the anticipation of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which was enacted into law on August 14, 2008.
We require that all toys, children's apparel and accessories, children's jewelry and other children's products be tested for compliance with the lead and phthalate requirements in the CPSIA for all U.S. retail formats.
Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has delayed the testing requirement until February 2010, we require all suppliers of a children's product to have their product tested by an accredited third-party testing lab.