Comparing The Walmart and P&G Supplier Sustainability Scorecards

This spring Procter and Gamble (P&G) rolled out a sustainability scorecard program for its suppliers. The program requests information on energy, carbon emissions, waste, and water.

Responses are graded on a 1 ("Far Exceeds Expectations") to 5 ("Far Below Expectations") scale. The effort initially involves a group of 400 suppliers, of which some had a July 1 deadline to report. Details of the program are online and a good article about the program can be found here.

P&G joins Walmart and other large companies in implementing supplier sustainability scorecards programs. Similar to the Walmart Supplier Sustainability Assessment program, which is centered on 15 questions, the P&G program is clear and simple. Both initiatives focus on carbon, water, and waste and offer clear scores and performance expectations for suppliers. Each program is very transparent and easy to implement.

Differences in the programs do exist, due to company type -- P&G is a manufacturer and Walmart is a retailer -- and philosophy. For example, the P&G program is performance based (actual results per output units) and more explicitly focused on yearly supplier improvement, whereas the Walmart effort is goal orientated (does the supplier have a goal?). Walmart asks for information on sourcing policies, third party certifications, and community involvement, while P&G does not.

Both firms have done an absolutely outstanding job with these efforts and these programs are models for other manufacturers and retailers considering supplier scorecards.

Sustainability executives should expect more data requests in coming years from their top customers as other large companies implement similar programs. Executives can use these two programs as examples of the types of data that will likely be requested and begin to prepare their organization accordingly.

Paul Baier is vice president of sustainability consulting at Groom Energy.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Caitlinator.