Wal-Mart, WRI May Decide Which Eco-labels Will Stick

by | Oct 1, 2009

walmart truck2The far-reaching Green Supply Chain Initiative, undertaken by the World Resources Institute thanks to a grant from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., aims to develop and deploy a new set of tools to account for GHG impacts on any given firm’s supply chain.

The initiative also will develop a “Green Standards Guide” to assist supply chain companies in wading through the different “green” claims of varying environmental certifications and labels.

Essentially, the Green Standards Guide will rate the various eco-labels, helping companys decide which ones they will recognize. A recent study from BBMG found that consumers had poor awareness of all but a few of the more than 400 “green” certification programs and labels.

The WRI initiative also will attempt to ascribe the GHG emissions associated with products sold to consumers, according to a press release.

The $420,000 grant from Wal-Mart also will help improve the environmental impact of goods imported from China, as a portion of the funding will go the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environment Affairs.

Other companies, including Dell, Kimberly Clark and Intel, were involved in the grant as well. For a complete list of funding companies, click here (PDF).

Wal-Mart’s involvement in the initiative follows the announcement of the retailer’s Sustainability Index, under which suppliers will be graded on various aspects of their supply chain.

Wal-Mart has attempted to be inclusive of other industry players in developing the index, which it hopes will be used in other stores as well. For instance, it has held talks with Kroger, among others.

This is not the first time Wal-Mart has reached out to a third-party to assign environmental and emissions protocol. With the sustainability index, it appears Wal-Mart is set to use the Carbon Disclosure Project as one means of tracking suppliers’ emissions.

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