Wal-Mart speaks on packaging

Nov. 28, 2006
Giant retailer unveils new initiative at Pack/Process Expo.

Two officials from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. used Pack/Process Expo to elaborate on the packaging-reduction program the giant retailer first announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in September.

Matt Kistler, vice president of package and product innovations for Sam’s Club, and Amy Zettlemoyer, director of packaging for Sam’s Club, revealed a packaging scorecard, aimed at the retailer’s global supply chain, which is intended to reduce packaging materials used by 5 percent by 2013.

The scorecard is a measurement tool that will allow suppliers to evaluate themselves relative to other suppliers based on specific metrics. The metrics in the scorecard evolved from the “7 R’s” of favorable packaging attributes, developed earlier this year by the Packaging Sustainable Value Network: remove, reduce, reuse, recycle, renew, revenue and read.

The Packaging Sustainable Value Network is a group of 200 leaders in the global packaging industry, including suppliers, experts, and internal and external stakeholders, assembled by Wal-Mart. After months of deliberation, the group outlined the following metrics for the packaging scorecard (percent is that fraction of the total score assigned to each attribute):

  • 15% will be based on greenhouse gas/CO2 per ton of production
  • 15% on material value
  • 15% on product/package ratio
  • 15% on cube utilization
  • 10% on transportation
  • 10% on recycled content
  • 10% on recovery value
  • 5% on renewable energy
  • 5% on innovation

Suppliers will receive an overall score relative to other suppliers, as well as relative scores in each category.

Some 2,000 private label brand suppliers immediately were given access to the packaging scorecard. On Feb. 1, 2007, Wal-Mart will share the packaging scorecard with its global supply chain of more than 60,000 suppliers. During a one-year trial period, suppliers will be able to input, store and track data. On Feb. 1, 2008, Wal-Mart will begin using the scorecard to rate suppliers.

An automated online demonstration is available at www.scorecardlibrary.com.

“We at Wal-Mart recognize that we have unique strengths and a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on the environment through our own actions, those of our customers and those of our suppliers,” said Kistler in his keynote address. “As vital as the packaging initiative is to reaching our environmental goals, it is also very good for our business and our suppliers’ business.”

See also our Pack/Process Expo report.

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