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16 Jul 2009: Wal-Mart Labels
Will Rate Sustainability of Products

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is planning to place labels on products that will rate them for sustainability, including their carbon footprint, the quantity of water used in their production, and the air pollution left in their wake. Wal-Mart said it will soon ask its 100,000 global suppliers 15 questions about the environmental practices of their companies, including whether the firms have publicly set greenhouse gas reduction targets. Wal-Mart will then use that information, along with independent verification of a supplier’s claims, to give products in its stores an overall sustainability score, including a numerical index that rates goods on their climate impact, pesticide use, and overall environmental damage. Environmental groups praised Wal-Mart’s plan, saying it would force the company’s suppliers to produce their products in less environmentally harmful ways. Wal-Mart has taken several major steps to make its massive operation more environmentally friendly, including significantly reducing packaging, cutting energy use in its stores, and selling only concentrated laundry detergent that uses 50 percent less water in its manufacture.


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