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Wal-Mart Packaging Scorecard changes, progress

FROM PACK EXPO 2008: New goals, scorecard metrics changes, and current progress are discussed at Pack Expo conference, led by Wal-Mart’s Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar.
FILED IN:  Sustainability  > Strategy

{MOSIMAGE}Despite an economy in flux, Wal-Mart continues to support and will expand its commitment to packaging source reduction and its Packaging Scorecard, driving international initiatives and adding more user-friendly features over the next two years.

That’s according to Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar, packaging director of Sam’s Club and co-manager of the Wal-Mart Sustainability Value Network, who spoke to a standing room-only crowd during her Pack Expo presentation, “Keeping Score: How Wal-Mart and its Suppliers Continue to Advance Packaging Change, Innovation and Sustainability.” Zettlemoyer-Lazar was joined by Robert Parvis, Sam’s Club packaging manager, during the conference session, which was held Sunday afternoon.

Paraphrasing a quote by Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, Zettlemoyer-Lazar told the audience that while it’s hard to ask suppliers to innovate in research and development in these tough economic times, the global economy will eventually turn around. “But these social and environmental challenges will be around for decades,” she said. “It’s a social, economic, and environmental imperative that we continue with our efforts on the scorecard.”
Among the announcements made by Zettlemoyer-Lazar and Parvis at the event:
• Wal-Mart will be expanding the use of its Packaging Scorecard to its international locations, including Canada, China, Mexico, and Puerto Rico in Q1 Fiscal Year 2010, and Brazil, Central America, Japan, and India in Q2 FY2010 (Wal-Mart's FY2010 is February through April 2009). The time frame for rollout in the U.K. and Argentina is still to be determined.
• Scorecard metrics will be adjusted, with changes to be announced at Wal-Mart’s Sustainable Packaging Expo in April 2009. These changes will reflect Wal-Mart’s desire to focus more on greenhouse gas reductions and on formulating more aggressive packaging weight-reduction goals within specific product categories.
• By February 2009, there will be improved reporting features for suppliers through the scorecard software to help them better track their progress toward their sustainability goals. “This will help drive the discussions the Wal-Mart buyers will have with their suppliers,” Zettlemoyer-Lazar explained.
• At a recent conference in Beijing, China, sustainability goals were outlined for those countries wishing to do business with Wal-Mart. These include a required demonstration of compliance with environmental laws and regulations by 2011; a commitment by the top 200 manufacturing facilities to reduce energy use by 200% by 2012, with Wal-Mart’s help; and a proposal to drive returns on defective merchandise virtually out of existence by 2012.
• Sam’s Club has been working with the International Safe Transit Assn. (ISTA) to develop “Just Right,” standardized tests that can be used by Sam’s Club—and eventually Wal-Mart—suppliers to duplicate conditions within the Wal-Mart supply chain. “This will ensure that suppliers are not overpackaging or underpackaging their products,” notes Parvis. He said that one result of reduced materials in packaging can be more product waste, which runs contrary to the Sam’s Club/Wal-Mart sustainability goals. The ISTA tests are expected to be completed in 2009.

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At the conference, Zettlemoyer-Lazar also updated audience members on the progress of supplier participation on the scorecard since it went live last February. She noted that Sam’s Club has 90% participation, with the exception of produce and meat items, which are not included in the scorecard, and Wal-Mart has a total of 250,000 product items entered into the scorecard. “We have made great progress,” she said. “With our suppliers help, buyers are making great changes.”

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