During the next three years, Wal-Mart intends to work with other major global retailers to create common social and environmental supplier standards, says Lee Scott, Wal-Mart chief executive officer. "We believe that there should be one framework of social and environmental standards for all major global retailers. And there should be one third-party auditing system for everyone," he told 7,000 Wal-Mart managers.
Meatingplace.com reports that Wal-Mart is working on such a system with global retail and CIES, a consumer goods network. It will begin with social standards and then expand to the environmental area.
According to Scott, Wal-Mart will build specific environmental, social and quality standards into its own supplier contracts. These standards will apply to all suppliers who work with Wal-Mart through global procurement, who are domestic importers or who manufacture Sam's Club or Wal-Mart private brands.
Scott reports that Wal-Mart has already started doing this, and the company hopes to extend the requirement to all of its suppliers within three to five years. Company officials believe suppliers can reduce the amount of energy they use to make Wal-Mart products by 20 percent. They state that Wal-Mart will only work with suppliers who maintain these standards, will make certification and compliance part of supplier agreements and will ask suppliers to report to them regularly.
To illustrate Wal-Mart's commitment, Scott states: "We will favor, and in some cases even pay more for, suppliers that meet our standards and share our commitment to quality and sustainability."