When you think of the global retail giant Walmart the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t sustainability. But think again.
The company plans to introduce this initiative in three phases:
First, Walmart will provide each of its 100,000 global suppliers with a survey of 15 questions to evaluate the company’s sustainability. The questions will be divided into four areas:
- energy and climate
- natural resources
- material efficiency
- people and community
U.S. suppliers are being asked to complete the survey by October 1st. Outside of the country, timelines will be set up for suppliers to complete the survey.
The consumer king’s second step is helping create a consortium of universities, administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas. The sustainability consortium will be comprised of universities that will collaborate with governmental agencies, businesses, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to create a sustainable product index for consumer products. Walmart supplied the initial funding for the Sustainability Index Consortium, and has appealed to retailers and suppliers to contribute.
The final step is providing customers with the information from the index in an easy to understand rating system. How this information is delivered — whether a color coding system or a numeric score — will be determined in coming months and years by the sustainability consortium. Hopefully, the rating system will help consumers make sustainable choices.
After visiting Walmart’s website I was impressed how much emphasis they place on sustainability. On the site I found information about climate, energy, zero waste and more. I wasn’t aware that the store was so dedicated to the environment and was definitely pleased to find out that the chain is more than just rock bottom prices.