Wal-Mart (Bentonville, AR) is asking its 60,000 worldwide suppliers to help it reduce overall packaging 5%—a move that it says will save Wal-Mart $3.4 billion while eliminating the emission of 667,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Announced recently in New York as part of the Clinton Global Initiative, Wal-Mart will launch the program in 2008, but initial work will start on Nov. 1, 2006 when it introduces a packaging scorecard to more than 2000 private-label suppliers. Wal-Mart says the scorecard will help its buyers learn about packaging alternatives, including sustainable packaging materials. The scorecard will be rolled out to all suppliers on Feb. 1, 2007, and in 2008, the company 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 2005, Wal-Mart did a beta test of sorts on its private-label Kid Connection toy line, reducing packaging on 300 toys. The company saved 3425 tons of corrugated materials, 1358 tons of oil, 5190 trees, 727 shipping containers, and $3.5 million in transportation costs in one year. In support of the program, Wal-Mart has created a Sustainable Packaging Value Network, consisting of 200 leaders in the global packaging industry. The company itself sells more than 160,000 products to 176 million customers each week.
The company has already announced a series of green initiatives, including the transfer of four produce lines to containers made from corn-derived NatureWorks polylactic acid (PLA) (MPW First Look, April 2006).—Tony Deligio; [email protected]