Wal-Mart Launches 5-Year Plan to Reduce Packaging
This initiative, scheduled to begin in 2008, is projected to reduce overall packaging by five percent. The announcement came at the conclusion of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.
In addition to preventing millions of pounds of trash from reaching landfills, the initiative is projected to save 667,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. This is equal to taking 213,000 trucks off the road annually, and saving 323,800 tons of coal and 66.7 million gallons of diesel fuel from being burned. This initiative will also create $10.98 billion in savings, just from a 5 percent reduction in 10 percent of the global packaging industry. Wal-Mart alone is poised to save $3.4 billion.
"Packaging is where consumers and suppliers come together and can have a real impact both on business efficiency and environmental stewardship," said Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott. "Even small changes to packaging have a significant ripple effect. Improved packaging means less waste, fewer materials used, and savings on transportation, manufacturing, shipping and storage."
On November 1, 2006, Wal-Mart will introduce a packaging scorecard to more than 2,000 private label suppliers. This is a tool that will allow Wal-Mart buyers to have all the information about packaging alternatives or more sustainable packaging materials in one place, allowing them to make better purchasing decisions.
On February 1, 2007, tools and processes will be made available to all of the company's global suppliers. For 12 months, these suppliers will learn and share results within this process. And beginning in 2008, Wal-Mart will measure and recognize the entire worldwide supply base for using less packaging, utilizing more effective materials in packaging, and sourcing these materials more efficiently through a packaging scorecard.
Scott added, "When you bring the capabilities of the entire supply chain together, the ability to make a difference really pops. There's a multiplier effect. Instead of just looking at what Wal-Mart can do alone, we have the opportunity to inspire thousands of companies and millions of customers, as well."
Wal-Mart's packaging vision began to form when the company partnered with suppliers to improve packaging on its private label Kid Connection toy line last year. By reducing the packaging on fewer than 300 toys, Wal-Mart saved 3,425 tons of corrugated materials, 1,358 barrels of oil, 5,190 trees, 727 shipping containers and $3.5 million in transportation costs, in just one year. Now Wal-Mart is taking what it learned from Kid Connection and applying it to the more than 160,000 products that are seen globally by 176 million customers each week.
The Wal-Mart Sustainable Packaging Value Network, a group of 200 leaders in the global packaging industry, is leading the project. This group includes representatives from government, NGOs, academia and industry.
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