Walmart Wants to Lead Creation of Universal Sustainability Index

Walmart announced today it will create a sustainability index for all of the products it sells.

Mike Duke, CEO of the world’s largest retailer, said the objective is to create a transparent supply chain, drive product innovation and provide customers with purchasing information.

During a webcast speech, Duke said stated several times that the initiative is not meant to be limited to Wal-Mart, but that the company hopes to lead in the creation of a database and product standard that can be used universally to lessen the environmental impact of manufacturing and retail.

He said the initiative would be divided into three steps. The first will begin immediately with a questionnaire for product suppliers. They will be asked to answer 15 questions regarding environmental costs associated with manufacturing, such as waste generation, resource use and community involvement.

Next, Duke said the company will join with a consortium of universities and technology partners to create an open-source database and set new design standards.

And finally, the database will be used to create a labelling system that rates the environmental impact of all products.

These eco-ratings will not appear on products for several years, but the initiative is likely to prompt many companies to redesign products in a more eco-friendly manner.

Some industry-watchers have suggested Wal-Mart is looking to get ahead of potential U.S. environmental labeling regulations, by leading an industry-wide initiative.

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Comments on “Walmart Wants to Lead Creation of Universal Sustainability Index”

  1. Chris Glennon

    Why create another standard that will only be used at one retailer. What about one with broad market appeal, such as JumpGauge Interactive Labeling (http://www.JumpGauge.com/)? Consumers could use it at all retailers, not just Walmart. Interactive labeling also offers greater transparency and knowledge transfer than a simple questionnaire.

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