Wal-Mart Plans to Rate Sustainability of Electronics

by | Mar 13, 2007

Next year, Wal-Mart wants electronics suppliers to fill out a scorecard that will assess the sustainability of their products. The scorecard will evaluate electronics on energy efficiency, durability, upgradability, end-of- life solutions, and the size of the package containing the product. Products will also be evaluated on their ability to use innovative materials that reduce the amount of hazardous substances, such as lead and cadmium, contained in the product. The end result is a score that shows suppliers where improvements can be made and allows Wal-Mart to evaluate the environmental sustainability of the product.

The information will be made available to shoppers.

To encourage suppliers to start implementing the scorecard metrics into their products now, Wal-Mart is co-sponsoring a design contest with the Green Electronics Council. Suppliers are encouraged to submit a consumer electronics product that puts the scorecard metrics into practice.

The winner’s product will be carried in Wal-Mart stores throughout the nation.

Wal-Mart has also released the initial results of its packaging scorecard, which evaluates Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club suppliers on the sustainability of their packaging and offers suggestions for improvement. The results from the first month of operation show active use of the scorecard and a strong interest from product suppliers to make their packaging more sustainable.

In the first month, 2,268 vendors have logged on to the site and 117 products have been entered into the system, and Wal-Mart expects these numbers to dramatically increase in the coming year. The scorecard evaluates the sustainability of product packaging based on greenhouse gas emissions related to production, material value, product to packaging ratio, cube utilization, recycled content usage, innovation, the amount of renewable energy used to manufacture the packaging, the recovery value of the raw materials and emissions related to transportation of the packaging materials.

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