Walmart's "Supplier Sustainability Assessment", released in summer 2009, adds another dimension to the concept of sustainability. In Walmart's case, it could spell "make-it" or "break-it" for some of their suppliers, depending on how they fare with the assessment As CA points out, "... Walmart is turning away from suppliers who offer excuses instead of innovation.
539 Enviromation under an ‘‘umbrella standard’’ setting out requirements for made a big difference in whether they would receive a their use. contract. As an added incentive, a certified ISO 14001 Julian Carroll, Managing Director of the European system added points to a supplier’s score. In another Organization for Packaging and the Environment example, Hewlett-Packard (‘‘HP’’) uses a detailed question- (‘‘EUROPEN’’), noted, ‘‘Adoption of global standards on naire during supplier audits, where the final score could packaging and the environment will provide a foundation either mean continued work or a cancelled contract. reference point for any regional or local initiatives — either Walmart is not alone in this club. from the public or corporate sector — aimed at addressing (2) CA: ‘‘The green consumer doesn’t exist. . . . I’d rather environmental concerns about packaging. We are wit- wait [to see] that it really matters to the customer.’’ nessing a rapid growth in the number of such initiatives, The September and October 2009 issues of [Business particularly outside Europe. Sometimes their goals are con- and the Environment] delved into the Canadian view of trary to each other and occasionally they don’t make any manufacturers’ environmental claims and labeling, and environmental sense. The proposed ISO standards could provided insight into the efforts that some Canadian regu- become a much needed benchmark for any proposed lators are taking to ensure such claims are valid. Environ- regional, national or even local packaging regulation’’. mental issues, or claims of greener products and services, The subcommittee hopes to have new standards are now mainstream, and building to a crescendo, perhaps complete and approved by the second quarter of 2012. even a tsunami. Would suppliers rather be riding that wave, Source: BUSINESS AND THE ENVIRONMENT, Vol. XXI, No. 1, or be washed out to sea by it? January 2010, published by CCH Inc., a Wolters Kluwer (3) CA: ‘‘It’s too complex. Sustainability is just too compli- business. This article is reproduced with permission. cated.’’ It doesn’t have to be. If one knows how to navigate the Walmart Suppliers’ Top 10 Sustainability Internet, assistance can be just a click away. For example, the Global Reporting Initiative (‘‘GRI ’’) Myths Examined (www.globalreporting.org/Home) is an excellent starting According to a blog post by Catherine Greener and point for organizations seeking specific information and Marc Major, the founders of Cleargreen Advisors (‘‘CA’’; guidance on what is required in a GRI Sustainability Report. www.cleargreenadvisors.com), there are 10 ‘‘top sus- Reports can be customized at different levels, based on an tainability myths’’ in the supplier community. The authors organization’s proficiency and level of understanding of the base their findings on several years of working with metrics involved. (See [Business and the Environment], Walmart to help the retailer develop and usher in its own December 2008, January 2009, February 2009.) sustainability strategy, including all of the logistical issues (4) CA: ‘‘We can’t afford it. This will cost too much. . . . If this related to introducing sustainability within the core busi-
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