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FLEXO Magazine : August 2009
INDustRY INDICAtORs RETAIL REPORT a new retail standard Wal-Mart Announces sustainable Product Index leaders at its home offi ce. The index will establish a single source of data for evaluating the sustainability of products. “Customers want products that O are more effi cient, that last longer and perform better,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart’s president and CEO. “And increasingly they want information about the entire lifecycle of a product, so they can feel good about buying it. They want to know that the materials in the product are safe, that it was made well and that it was produced in a responsible way.” He told those in attendance at the Bentonville, AR, head- Duke quarters, as well as thousands of others watching the conference via Webcast, including FLEXO staffers, that the company’s initiatives would “create a new retail standard for the 21st century—no doubt about it.” The company will introduce the initiative in three phases, beginning with a survey of its more than 100,000 suppliers around the world. The survey includes 15 questions that will serve as a tool for Wal-Mart’s suppliers to evaluate their own sustainability efforts. The questions will focus on four areas: energy and climate; material effi ciency; natural resources, and; people and community. “The survey will include simple but powerful questions covering familiar territory, such as the location of our suppliers’ factories, along with new areas like water use and solid waste,” said John Fleming, chief merchandising offi cer, WalMart U.S. “The questions aren’t complicated, but we’ve never before systematically asked for this kind of information. The survey is a key fi rst step toward establishing real transparency in our supply chain.” Fleming also said the company will ask its top tier U.S. sup- pliers to complete the survey by Oct. 1. Outside the U.S., the company will develop timelines on a country-by-country basis for suppliers to complete the survey. As a second step, the company is helping create a consor- tium of universities that will collaborate with suppliers, retailers, NGOs and government to develop a global database of information on the lifecycle of products—from raw materials to disposal. Wal-Mart has provided the initial funding for the Sustainability Index Consortium, and invited all retailers and suppliers to contribute. The company will also partner with one or more leading technology companies to create an open platform that will power the index. “It is not our goal to create or own this index,” said Duke. “We want to spur the development of a common database that will allow the consortium to collect and analyze the knowledge of the global supply chain. We think this shared 20 F LEXO n July 16, Wal-Mart announced plans to develop a worldwide sustainable product index during a meeting with 1,500 of its suppliers, associates and sustainability sUsTainaBiLiTY PrODUcT inDeX: 15 QUesTiOns fOr sUPPLiers energY anD cLiMaTe: reDUcing energY cOsTs anD greenhOUse gas eMissiOns 1. Have you measured your corporate greenhouse gas emissions? 2. Have you opted to report your greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)? 3. What is your total annual greenhouse gas emissions reported in the most recent year measured? 4. Have you set publicly available greenhouse gas reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets? MaTeriaL efficiencY: reDUcing WasTe anD enhancing QUaLiTY 1. If measured, please report the total amount of solid waste generated from the facilities that produce your product(s) for Wal-Mart for the most recent year measured. 2. Have you set publicly available solid waste reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets? 3. If measured, please report total water use from facilities that produce your product(s) for Wal-Mart for the most recent year measured. 4. Have you set publicly available water use reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets? naTUraL resOUrces: PrODUcing high QUaLiTY, resPOnsiBLY sOUrceD raW MaTeriaLs 1. Have you established publicly available sustainability purchasing guidelines for your direct suppliers that address issues such as environmental compliance, employment practices and product/ingredient safety? 2. Have you obtained 3rd party certifi cations for any of the products that you sell to Wal-Mart? PeOPLe anD cOMMUniTY: ensUring resPOnsiBLe anD eThicaL PrODUcTiOn 1. Do you know the location of 100 percent of the facilities that produce your product(s)? 2. Before beginning a business relationship with a manufacturing facility, do you evaluate the quality of, and capacity for, production? 3. Do you have a process for managing social compliance at the manufacturing level? 4. Do you work with your supply base to resolve issues found during social compliance evaluations and also document specifi c corrections and improvements? 5. Do you invest in community development activities in the markets you source from and/or operate within? Augus t 20 0 9 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g