Wal-Mart doing 'much more' than just using its scorecard for rating packaging sustainability, now also giving its buyers sustainability goals to influence how the products they purchase are packaged,' executive says

Graziela Medina Shepnick

Graziela Medina Shepnick

May 14, 2012 – Industry Intelligence

LOS ANGELES , May 11, 2012 () –

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is doing “so much more” than just using its Scorecard to rate packaging sustainability, said a company executive at Walmart’s seventh annual Sustainability Expo, held the week of May 7 in Rogers, Arkansas, reported Packaging Digest on May 11.

Buyers of the products that Wal-Mart has in its stores are now being given sustainability goals for the product lines they represent and have considerable influence on how those products are packaged and displayed, said Ron Sasine, Walmart’s senior director of private label packaging.

Wal-Mart buyers are increasingly making their purchasing decisions based on information that they get from the Scorecard, said one consumer packaged goods (CPG) presenter at the expo, which drew nearly 2,000 participants and 190 packaging exhibitors, Packaging Digest reported.

At a recent meeting of Wal-Mart’s Packaging Supplier Value Network, the company emphasized packaging sustainability as a way to make its operations more efficient. The group included leaders at Wal-Mart, supplier companies, academia, government, and non-government organizations.

Among the successes that Wal-Mart has had in its sustainability drive is a change in General Mills Inc.’s cereal packaging that shortened the boxes to reduce the overall packaging used while increasing the fill to 92% from 78%, reported Packaging Digest.

General Mill did this by linking two shorter boxes together with two bags inside instead of using two larger separate boxes with one bag each. The packaged cereals are sold in Sam’s Club stores.

Smithfield Foods Inc. was able to reduce the size of a secondary case for packaging its case-ready pork sold in Walmart stores by separating stacked trays with an absorbent slip sheet in a mother bag. This allows more cases to be shipped per truckload, Packaging Digest reported.

In Wal-Mart’s Apparel Group, Sam Wilson’s team found a way to make better use of corrugated sheets used for boxed shoes the company sells, resulting in a US$1.1-million savings in packaging cost, an 8.1-million-ton cut in solid wastes and 157 fewer truckloads.

The expo is an annual event held to allow Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart to show the progress it has made in achieving its sustainability targets and allows packaging suppliers to display their latest technology for sustainability, reported Packaging Digest.

The primary source of this article is Packaging Digest, Oak Book, Illinois, on May 11, 2012.

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