Sustainability Inspires Change at Walmart

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[Editor's Note: Want to learn more about Walmart's sustainability practices? Join our webinar on January 28.]

About five years ago, Walmart set some pretty ambitious sustainability goals that would affect practically every aspect of our business—from our everyday practices to the partners we work with and the products we sell. One of our main priorities was to improve our supply chain to reduce emissions and costs. We also decided to focus on selling products that don’t require our customers to choose between affordability and what’s good for the environment. To do this, we knew we needed to collaborate with others to get the right tools and information.

In 2009, we helped create The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a collaborative effort with some our largest competitors, to help develop measurement and reporting systems for product sustainability and contribute to a Sustainability Index. It now has more than 100 members and offices across three continents. We’re using the tools that have come out of TSC in our core merchandising process, delivering them to our product buyers, and incentivizing suppliers and buyers to ensure these tools get traction and drive change.  Just three years later, we’ve already seen the progress these projects help create in several areas of our business, including electronics, beverages, and personal care products. 

And we’re still making big commitments to sustainability. In October, we pledged to increase the sustainability of our global supply chain, beginning with our efforts in China. That same month, we tied our business even more closely to sustainability, giving it a role in merchants’ performance reviews, which affect raises and future promotions.

Quite simply, sustainability is good for business-- and that extends to products and the supply chain.

There are many other examples of the work that Walmart and others are doing across the industry. Quite simply, sustainability is good for business-- and that extends to products and the supply chain. To make changes toward sustainability successfully requires tools and information that are practical, actionable, and tied to business processes. It takes hard work, dedication, and buy-in from every facet of the organization.

I’ve always had an interest in sustainability, and through my work at Walmart, I’ve been able be part of some amazing change. I’m excited to be able to share some of my thoughts on how other businesses can do the same during the Evolution of Environmental Innovation webinar on January 28.  I hope you can join us.

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