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Walmart Sustainable Packaging Program Still Thriving


Last month, I found myself in Bentonville, Arkansas at our semi-annual packaging strategy meeting with Walmart.  It’s been a little more than four years since Walmart launched its sustainable packaging scorecard to its supply base, and the initiative is still thriving.  Just last year Walmart announced its incredible goal of eliminating 100% of its packaging waste by reducing, recycling or reusing everything that comes into its 4,100 U.S. stores by 2025.

In our meetings, we discussed a wide array of initiatives, assessed the tracking of goals, the setting of new ones and held information sessions on everything from Bisphenol-A (BPA) linings in cans, the state of the recycling infrastructure for paper liquid containers and low-toxicity label adhesives.

The dialogue continues to be fresh and high spirited as Walmart and its hand-selected strategic partners continue along the journey towards zero waste and sustainable solutions for packaging across all sectors of business. 

For me, the most impressive highlights are a commitment to pursue perpetual enhancements to the scorecard program (although it’s already the undisputed leading retail tool in the market) and the international expansion of the program beyond what Walmart has been able to accomplish already. 

One of the most profound elements of the Walmart sustainability strategy is the colossal savings it has realized throughout this journey.  From day one, Walmart has made it very clear that while the environment benefits from the company’s commitment to sustainability, a conscious eye is also focused on the bottom line and the efficiencies gained.

I haven’t seen a figure disclosed publicly, but would wager that Walmart has saved millions … maybe tens of millions of dollars over the past few years across all its sustainability programs.  I continue to be amazed by its leadership in the field and while some retailers are certainly further along than others, I wonder when the rest of the U.S. retail community is going to commit to sustainability strategically, build a network of experts and begin the journey to efficiency.  Why wouldn’t they?

What sustainable initiatives are you working on for your company? Share your experiences in the comments section below.



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