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Walmart Expands Sustainability Expo

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February 6, 2014

Walmart will be hosting its inaugural Walmart Product Sustainability Expo, an expanded version of its Sustainable Packaging Expo, April 28-May 2, 2014 in Northwest Arkansas, the company announced in a post on The Green Room blog.

“This will be a time for our suppliers to meet, learn and discuss a number of sustainability topics, including packaging optimization,” wrote Ron Sasine, senior director of packing procurement, private brands packaging for Walmart U.S.; Robert Parvis, director of packaging, proprietary brands and merchandise solutions for Sam’s Club; and Rob Kaplan, director of product sustainability for Walmart Stores Inc., in a jointly written blog post.
“Given the importance of the topic, we will dedicate a good portion of this new event to advancing packaging and supplier collaboration. We know that our success in sustainability is a collaborative effort with our suppliers. Getting more of our suppliers together in the same place will allow us all to share best practices – and ultimately make those partnerships even stronger.”

The event expansion is a focus on the total product, not just packaging, sustainability.

Packaging has been a focus for Walmart for the past seven years. In 2007, the company made a commitment to reduce packaging by 5 percent, which it achieved at the end of 2013. “We’ve made significant improvement by using more sustainable packaging for prescription medication, eliminating ties on toys, reducing packaging for CDs and DVDs and more, according to the post. “In collaboration with packaging manufacturers, consumer products companies, governments, and NGOs we identified packaging optimization metrics that became the framework for the Walmart Packaging Scorecard.”

The Packaging Sustainable Value Network (SVN) also serves as a hub for innovation and collaboration “along with a number of other SVNs that directly support key selling areas. As we look to the future of our packaging sustainability work, we see an opportunity to increase our impact and integrate packaging into our broader product sustainability initiatives, including the work of the Walmart Sustainability Index. This will result in a few changes for how we approach packaging sustainability.”

The Packaging Scorecard now will be folded into the Index to streamline reporting and measurement for suppliers, according to the post. “Instead of requiring that all items be separately tracked by the Packaging Scorecard, key packaging metrics will be a part of how we view overall product sustainability.”

Walmart will also integrate packaging sustainability into other merchant-led SVNs, which will make packaging sustainability a topic for every SVN. “We will continue to leverage industry relationships and experts to build targeted programs that impact packaging, such as our Plastics Recycling initiative.”


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