Retail giant Walmart announced a new series of initiatives Thursday to increase the sustainability of its supply chain in China, the United States and around the world.
According to a recent press release, the world’s largest retailer plans to use The Sustainability Consortium’s Sustainability Index to design more sustainable products, make its global supply chain more socially and environmentally accountable, and make affordable and sustainable consumer goods more accessible.
At an event in Beijing, Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke announced that the Walmart Foundation will award $2 million to eco-evaluation system The Sustainability Consortium to launch an outfit in China and begin research aimed at stimulating the growth of sustainable business.
“[The Sustainability Consortium] China will provide the local research and reporting systems to help China build more sustainable and more competitive businesses,” said Duke. “Walmart and others will use the knowledge TSC generates to enhance supply chain sustainability in China.”
By focusing on China, The Sustainability Consortium’s research will have a significant impact down the supply chain–from domestic suppliers to local retailers and U.S. big box shoppers. The sustainability measures will improve energy efficiency and decrease harmful emissions on a factory level, while providing a unit of measure for the buying power of sustainability-conscious consumers.
As a result of research, “we will have a deeper insight into how we can make manufacturing more sustainable for people and communities in China,” Duke added. “The impact of these commitments will be global and make a difference with products sold around the globe.”
Beginning in 2013, the retailer plans to use the Index to influence the design of Walmart’s private brands, as well as to evaluate the merchants from whom the company sources. By 2017, Walmart plans to purchase 70% of its goods sold in U.S. stores and U.S. Sam’s Clubs from suppliers who use the Sustainability Index to evaluate the sustainability of their products. These goals expand on sustainability initiatives first launched at the 2008 Sustainability Summit.