Wal-Mart Buyers Put Packaging Scorecard into Practice

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Today Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will officially begin using its packaging scorecard to rate suppliers on their progress toward developing sustainable packaging, as well as their ability to help the retailer reach company-wide sustainability goals to reduce waste, use renewable energy, and sell sustainable products.

Wal-Mart buyers will be able to use the scorecard as a tool when making purchasing decisions, the company said. First unveiled at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006, and put through a trial phase for the past year, Wal-Mart said the scorecard is the next step in moving toward its goal to achieve a 5 percent packaging reduction by 2013.

"The packaging scorecard helps everyone make better decisions that are good for business, our customers, and the environment," said Matt Kistler, s.v.p. of sustainability, in a statement. "It's important to us that our suppliers see the intrinsic value behind sustainability, both for their business and the environment. We've made significant progress throughout the first year of the scorecard, and it is a key responsibility of our suppliers to input new products and update packaging changes on an ongoing basis."

As of Jan. 30, 2008, more than 97,000 products have been entered into the scorecard by 6,371 distinct vendors, Wal-Mart said. Last year, suppliers were given the opportunity to input and track data, learn about the scorecard, and work with buyers to start thinking about sustainable packaging solutions.

The scorecard evaluates the sustainability of product packaging based on several key metrics, including greenhouse gas emissions, product-to-package ratio, space utilization, innovation, the amount of renewable energy used in packaging production, and emissions related to the distance packaging materials are transported. Suppliers receive a score in each category and can view how they rate overall compared to their competitors in each product category.

Wal-Mart said it will continue to work with its Packaging Sustainable Value Network comprised of suppliers, government agencies, academics, trade associations, and non-governmental organizations throughout the year to verify the methodology behind the calculations in the scorecard. While the questions asked of the product suppliers in the scorecard will remain the same, the calculations made behind the scenes in the scorecard could be refined.
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