Walmart SVN feedback 2:3

January 28, 2011

Hello and happy Friday!

Guess what: yesterday marked the highest trafficked-blog day EVER! 76 new people visited my blog! That’s like, almost a small concert!

Today I am going to summarize the second part of Walmart’s SVN meeting, which I attended in Rogers, Arkansas, on December 14th. For a description of the first half of the meeting’s happenings, visit January 21st’s post.

December 14th, 2010
Sam’s Clubs Headquarters, Rogers, Arkansas
Walmart’s winter SVN meeting

After an explanation of changes to the metrics of the Scorecard, one of the new team members touched upon the Supplier Sustainability Assessment. Unlike the Scorecard, which attempts to quantify the “sustainability” of a package at the item/SKU-level, the SSA attempts to quantify the “sustainability” of a supplier at the corporate level. Comprised of 15 questions that look to illuminate a supplier’s relationship with its employees and community in addition to the materials and natural resources consumed via its processes, this Assessment conveys how a supplier approaches sustainability. It was then articulated that the packaging Scorecard will be a component of the SSA, though I am unaware of how it will be incorporated.

Next, the host touched upon Walmart’s recently announced global sustainable agriculture goals, which as per this press release, means that Walmart “will buy more from small and mid-sized farmers around the world; reduce food waste; and sustainably source key agricultural products.”

Then the Product Index was introduced, which I found very interesting. Apparently, Walmart has embarked upon the journey of collecting LCI data on every product sold at their Stores. This Index, like the Scorecard, attempts to quantify the sustainability of a product at the item/SKU-level. Can you image the amount of work that would go into getting LCI data on all the products sold at Walmart/Sam’s Club?!? It was explained that through the joint efforts of the Sustainability Consortium, funded in part by Walmart and drawing resources from Arizona State and the University of Arkansas, Walmart will begin amassing environmental data on their products in preparation for the time “when their customers demand it.” In other words, the way in which it was presented to the SVN, the motivation behind collecting all this data is to provide Walmart/Sam’s Club customers with information about the sustainability of the products they buy. Walmart is unable to comment, however, on how this information will be presented to their customers; all that was stated is this is a goal that is currently underway, done only to meet the assumed demands of their customers in the future.

There are several “teams” working on these pilots—one working with the electronics sector, another for food and beverage sector, and yet another for the homecare sector.

A new team member then approached the podium and explained the approach of the Consortium as follows:

The Consortium looks to (1) use science to (2) develop standards for measurement in order to (3) allow for accurate reporting that will inform the retailers’ (4) sourcing standards; consequentially, providing their customers and community with more sustainable products.

It was concluded that Walmart wants to be able to understand the sustainability performance of its products in order to begin rewarding truly sustainable manufacturers.

I will provide a summary of the last part of the Walmart SVN meeting early next week. Have a great weekend!!!!

3 Responses to “Walmart SVN feedback 2:3”

  1. Hi !

    I must be one of you 76 new people visiting your blog !
    Thank you for the very precise posts. I am from France and we (The Chamber of Commerce of Burgundy) are setting up a technology watch for the packaging industry. An axe of our investigations is about environement and recycling and it’s quite difficult to have “fresh” international information so you are the perfect bridge and I may ask you a few times more details on what you describe on your posts ! For example, I read one about the pizza box which enable a better preservation of the food and I will be interested in having more information !
    Keep doing this great job !
    Ivan

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