Wal-Mart to expand sustainability index

by Keith Nunes
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BEIJING – By 2013, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will use its sustainability index to influence the design of its private label products, and by 2017 the company said it will buy 70 percent of the goods it sells in the United States and around the world from suppliers who are using the index. The company made the announcement during a meeting in Beijing.

“Today I’m proud to announce a series of steps and commitments that will make Wal-Mart’s supply chain, in the United States, here in China, and around the world, more sustainable,” said Mike Duke, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “The impact of these commitments will be global and make a difference with products sold around the globe.”

The retailer set a goal in 2009 to develop the sustainability index to improve sustainability throughout the consumer goods industry. Working with the consortium a reporting system was developed for Wal-Mart, and other members of the consortium, to evaluate products and determine supplier sustainability performance.

Wal-Mart has rolled out the index, which measures product sustainability using metrics developed by the Sustainability Consortium, to more than 100 categories. Merchandise buyers from Wal-Mart are now using the index in regular buying decisions, according to the company.

Food and beverage product categories included in the sustainability index range from milk, cheese, bread, apples, bananas, potatoes, pork and many others.

To learn more about the index and the product categories included, visit www.sustainabilityconsortium.org.

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