Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Ark., has begun a program to urge its suppliers to reduce the amounts of packaging and to use more recycled materials in packaging.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Ark., has begun a program to urge its suppliers to reduce the amounts of packaging and to use more recycled materials in packaging. The nation’s largest retailer, with net sales in the second quarter of this year of $84.5 billion, Wal-Mart could exercise enormous influence over the use of plastics packaging as a result of this initiative. The company previewed a “Packaging Scorecard” for its global supply chain of more than 60,000 suppliers last month and will present it formally to suppliers on Feb. 1. Starting one year later, Wal-Mart says it plans to use the scorecard “to measure and recognize its entire supply chain, based on each company’s ability to use less packaging, utilize more effective materials in packaging, and source these materials more efficiently relative to other suppliers.” The scorecard rates each supplier based on nine criteria, including product-to-package ratio, packaging material value, recycled content, and amounts of greenhouse gases or CO2 emitted per ton of production. The scorecard is one step toward a goal of 5% packaging reduction across Wal-Mart’s supply chain by 2013. And last month, the company began using corn-based PLA packaging for certain fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Wal-Mart is testing PLA for pastry boxes, bread bags, clamshells, deli trays, and salad bowls.