Wal-Mart Calls on Suppliers to Reduce Packaging, Conserve Natural Resources

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said on Friday it plans to measure its 60,000 worldwide suppliers on their ability to develop packaging and conserve natural resources. This initiative, scheduled to begin in 2008, is projected to reduce overall packaging by five percent.

"Packaging is where consumers and suppliers come together and can have a real impact both on business efficiency and environmental stewardship," said Wal-Mart c.e.o. H. Lee Scott. "Even small changes to packaging have a significant ripple effect. Improved packaging means less waste, fewer materials used, and savings on transportation, manufacturing, shipping, and storage."

On Nov. 1, 2006, Wal-Mart will introduce a packaging scorecard to more than 2,000 private label suppliers. The tool will allow Wal-Mart buyers to have all the information about packaging alternatives or more sustainable packaging materials in one place.

Then on Feb. 1, 2007, tools and processes will be made available to all of the company's global suppliers, said Wal-Mart. For 12 months, these suppliers will learn and share results within this process. Beginning in 2008, Wal-Mart will measure and recognize the entire worldwide supply base for using less packaging, utilizing more effective materials in packaging, and sourcing these materials more efficiently through a packaging scorecard.

In addition to preventing millions of pounds of trash from reaching landfills, the initiative is projected to save 667,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, according to Wal-Mart. This initiative should also result in almost $11 billion in estimated savings, just from a 5 percent reduction in 10 percent of the global packaging industry. Wal-Mart alone is poised to save $3.4 billion.

Wal-Mart said its packaging vision began to form when the company partnered with suppliers to improve packaging on its private label Kid Connection toy line last year. By reducing the packaging on fewer than 300 toys, Wal-Mart saved 3,425 tons of corrugated materials, 1,358 barrels of oil, 5,190 trees, 727 shipping containers, and $3.5 million in transportation costs, in just one year.

The Wal-Mart Sustainable Packaging Value Network, a group of 200 leaders in the global packaging industry, is leading the project. This group includes representatives from government, NGOs, academia, and industry.
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