After years of much behind the scenes initiatives towards sustainability, the world’s largest retailer has finally revealed their plans for a more sustainable and, of course, more profitable, method of doing business in the coming years. Walmart has made a commitment to substantially reduce their carbon footprint and, being that 90% of their emissions is due to their own supply chain, their suppliers are the ones now feeling their own form of global warming. walmartone
Walmart’s new initiative involves three phases. First, there is the Sustainability Index. Their top 100,000 suppliers worldwide must complete a questionnaire involving a list of 16 specific questions asking if they have measured their greenhouse gas emissions, set public targets for reducing waste, tracked the origin of the products they make and managed social compliance at their factories. Next, the retail giant, whose sales surpassed $400 billion in 2008, is arranging for a Sustainability Consortium with universities and other NGO’s to track and manage the information on their entire line of products. Lastly, the new index will then provide labeling on products so consumers can educate themselves and make buying decisions based on the sustainability of the product.
How will this affect other companies in other industries? Analysts agree that the new Sustainability Index will have far-reaching effects well beyond the retail environment. Already, several companies, including Samsung, have announced their own “me too” sustainability policies. Companies are rushing to prepare their own sustainability statements and work on sustainability plans.
Walmart and other large companies realize that there is no turning back the power of an educated populace, and in doing so, ensuring those dollars keep rolling in.