Wal-Mart takes sustainability index to China

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. took its sustainability agenda to China last month, with a meeting in Beijing with government officials, nongovernmental organizations, academics, suppliers and company associates.

The message: Global suppliers need to comply with the company’s sustainability goals within five years, or risk losing business with the world’s largest retailer. Wal-Mart said that as of today, its buyers have been trained on how to use the sustainability index across 100 categories, and have engaged more than 500 suppliers.

While plastics readers may associate sustainability primarily with material selection — things like recycled content and use of biobased materials — Wal-Mart takes a much bigger picture approach, including things like energy and water savings. So, if you thought sustainability was a fad, you might want to rethink that.

Loepp is editor of  Plastics News and author of “The Plastics Blog.”