Wal-Mart Efforts to Green Supply Chain

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Wal-Mart efforts to Green Supply Chain As America’s and the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart employs more than 2.1 million associates worldwide, including more than 1.4 million in the United States. With $405 billion in sales for fiscal year ending January 2010, Wal-Mart operates 8,400 retail units around the world and works with 100,000 suppliers. In 2005, Lee Scott, Wal-Mart’s Chief Executive Officer, outlined a series of environmental sustainability efforts the company would pursue to lessen its carbon footprint. Wal-Mart’s three environmental goals include: to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, to create zero waste and to sell products that sustain people and the environment. Wal-Mart is also focusing on increasing the transparency of its supply chain by looking at where products are sourced and manufactured, how they are shipped and packaged and how they are used and ultimately disposed. Wal-Mart’s latest step towards plans to green its supply chain came in February 2010, when it announced that its plans to cut some 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain by the end of 2015, equivalent to removing more than 3.8 million cars from the road for a year. Wal-Mart plans to focus on reducing carbon associated with popular product categories with the highest embedded carbon, such as milk, bread, meat and clothing. Among other steps, the company will urge its suppliers to examine the carbon lifecycle of their products, from the raw materials used in manufacturing and packaging to the recycling phase. In greening its supply chain, Wal-Mart’s sustainability executives will work closer with suppliers to advise them on what measures to take to ensure their products are environmentally sound. For example, Wal-Mart announced that by 2012, all direct import suppliers will be required to source 95% of their production from factories that receive one of Wal-Mart’s highest audit ratings for social and environmental practices. The...
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