Walmart expands sustainability imitative to China

October 30, 2012

Walmart has announced a series of initiatives to make the company’s supply chain in the United States, China, and around the world more sustainable. At an event in Beijing, China, with government officials, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), academics, suppliers, and company associates, Walmart said the company will use the Sustainability Index to design more sustainable products, make its global supply chain more socially and environmentally accountable and responsible, and incentivize merchants to make sustainability a bigger part of their day-to-day jobs.

As a part of this effort, the Walmart Foundation will grant $2 million to fund The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) and assist in its efforts in launching TSC in China. TSC is an independent research organization. Using the Walmart Foundation grant, TSC China will engage industries, universities, and other experts to form a global network of leaders improving sustainability in consumer goods, and will provide tools and resources to help suppliers become more sustainable and competitive. Walmart will use the results of TSC’s independent work to refine its Sustainability Index for use in China.

The additional initiatives announced at the event will build on the broader sustainability goals Walmart set at the China Sustainability Summit in 2008. The commitments outlined include:

  • By the end of 2017, Walmart will buy 70% of the goods it sells in U.S. stores and in U.S. Sam’s Clubs only from suppliers in the United States, China, and around the world who use the Index to evaluate and share the sustainability of their products. This change will involve suppliers who produce goods in categories where the Index is available.
  • Beginning in 2013, Walmart will use the Sustainability Index to influence the design of its U.S. private brand products.

Walmart set a goal in 2009 to develop a Sustainability Index to improve sustainability across the consumer goods industry. The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) developed a reporting system and measurement tools for Walmart, and other members of The Consortium, to evaluate products and determine supplier sustainability performance. Walmart has rolled out the Sustainability Index, which measures product sustainability using metrics developed by TSC, to more than 100 categories.

Merchandise buyers from Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club, Walmart.com, and Walmart Canada are now using the Sustainability Index in regular buying decisions. More than 500 suppliers have participated in the Sustainability Index, representing an average of 70% of sales within the categories Walmart is currently evaluating with the Sustainability Index. Walmart expects to expand the use of the Index to an additional 100 product categories by the end of 2012.

Press release