Walmart announced last Tuesday the debut of its Sustainability Leaders shop, an online shopping portal on Walmart.com that helps customers identify and purchase products from suppliers that are leading in sustainability.
The launch of the Sustainability Leaders shop builds on the company’s ambition to provide customers more information about the products they purchase at Walmart. The new portal helps to advance Walmart’s goal to offer customers a way to choose products they can afford, and that are produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
The Sustainability Leaders shop is the customer-facing iteration of Walmart’s Sustainability Index, launched in 2009 in collaboration with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), an independent, third-party organization of academic-based scientists and more than 100 member organizations that creates tools and strategies to drive more sustainable consumer products. Over the last several years, Walmart and TSC have worked with suppliers, several leading non-profit organizations and TSC to build the Sustainability Index.
“The Sustainability Leaders shop on Walmart.com is the first step in helping our customers identify which brands and suppliers are leading the way in sustainability,” explained Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce. “Our customers can trust us to work with suppliers who have an ongoing commitment to both sustainability and affordability.”
Until now, the Sustainability Index, which gathers and analyzes information about a supplier’s approach to managing its social and environmental impact on the full lifecycle of its products, had only been a tool for Walmart and its suppliers. Now, as part of the Sustainability Leaders shop, important insights from the tool are available to anyone.
The Sustainability Leaders shop takes information from the Index and translates it into an easy-to-understand format for Walmart customers. Products displayed with a badge indicate that their manufacturer ranks as best in class among other suppliers in that product category, based on their responses to detailed category surveys developed by TSC. The badge symbolizes that the manufacturer of that product is ranked highest among its peers within its category; or in categories where there are many leading manufacturers, products made by any manufacturer that scores over 80 percent, will also qualify for a badge.
Although the badge isn’t specific to the individual product’s environmental or social impact, the manufacturer and category level approach is intended to help customers identify companies leading in sustainability.
“We’ve done the heavy lifting to empower our customers to put their money where their heart is,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, senior vice president of sustainability for Walmart. “The Sustainability Leaders shop gives customers the tools to make more informed choices, and it’s a great way for us to do good business.”
Depending on the product category, specific and pertinent factors are used to evaluate a company’s sustainability efforts. The relevant social and environmental factors for a product are not always obvious, and the Index helps illuminate what matters most for each type of product. Customers can also better understand the issues that TSC has identified as the most important in evaluating sustainability in each product category through a series of fact sheets, also available through the Sustainability Leaders shop.
“TSC tools are used by hundreds of Walmart suppliers across sectors to drive sustainability in the supply chain, and now this information is being directed to Walmart consumers to help inform the choice of products they use every day,” stated Sheila Bonini, TSC CEO. “The Sustainability Consortium is also pleased to provide Walmart shoppers with important insights about what sustainability factors matter most for each product category through the library of fact sheets found in the Sustainability Leaders shop.”