Walmart is continuing to make significant progress in greening its supply chain by encouraging suppliers to voluntarily invest in environmentally and socially responsible practices and products.
Last month the corporation held a three-day event, the Sustainability Product Expo, which was attended by over 3,000 participants, many of who were high-level employees from across Walmart’s supply chain. During the expo a number of suppliers pledged to increase the sustainability robustness of products and materials. Kellogg’s stated that it would help small rice farmers adopt more sustainable farming practices, Proctor & Gamble promised a 25% reduction in water per dose of their liquid laundry detergent and many other companies drew up similar goals.
This progress is the latest indication that Walmart is implementing a clear strategy for supply chain sustainability. This strategy is centered on active engagement with suppliers, leading by example and offering assistance and tools that make it as easy as possible for suppliers to deal with and report on sustainability issues. For example, Walmart is primarily using a single sustainability index (developed by the Sustainability Consortium in 2009) to track supplier progress. This creates a simple system that suppliers can adhere to and does not leave them mired in a mess of various indexes and reporting standards.
At this point, Walmart’s engagement with its many suppliers continues to be a positive example for corporations across industries. Its leaders are demonstrating that even the most expansive and complex supply chains can make rapid strides in sustainability if a commitment is made to properly engage with and assist suppliers.