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What’s Your Score?

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: January 24, 2007
If you are among the thousands of companies supplying beauty and personal care products to Wal-Mart, organizing for the data collection that will be required as the retail giant moves to create sustainability throughout its organization and supply chain should be high on your list of New Year’s resolutions. The 14 sustainable value networks Wal-Mart has established will look at a broad range of product categories, such as textiles and forest products, along with many internal systems.

To its credit, Wal-Mart has not worked alone to establish its sustainability guidelines. Each network has a core group of Wal-Mart employees as well as government and nongovernment representatives. Of particular interest to beauty and personal care suppliers, the packaging value network focuses on materials used on products that come into the store. As many as 200 brand owner and packaging supplier representatives attended packaging value network meetings in Bentonville in 2006.

Last September, Wal-Mart made public its plan to reduce packaging 5% across its global supply chain by 2013, and introduced its Packaging Scorecard to suppliers in an address at Pack Expo on Nov 1, 2006. At that time, the scorecard was made available to more than 2,000 of Wal-Mart’s private label suppliers.

Wal-Mart’s global chain of more than 60,000 suppliers will have access to the scorecard beginning on February 1, and will have until February 1, 2008, to input relevant data. On that date, Wal-Mart buyers will begin using the scorecard to measure and recognize its entire supply chain based on each company’s ability to use less packaging, utilize more effective materials in packaging and source these materials more efficiently relative to other suppliers, according to the company.

The scale of the task ahead for brand owners was articulated for GCI magazine editors by Ronald D. Sasine, vice president of business development for AGI/Klearfold, part of the global packaging company MeadWestvaco. Sasine, who has participated in the packaging value network meetings in Bentonville, paid a visit to GCI headquarters late last year as part of his mission to get the word out to packaging designers and brand managers about what will have to be accomplished in the one-year period between Feb. 1, 2007, and Feb. 1, 2008.