Walmart today unveiled its Sustainable Product Index, a guide for rating the sustainability of products. The project will be rolled out in three phases, beginning with a survey of all of Walmart’s suppliers around the globe. The survey consists of 15 questions in four categories: energy and climate, material efficiency, natural resources and people and community. Suppliers will be asked to fill out the questionnaire by October 1.
The second phase of the project involves the development of a Sustainability Index Consortium, a coalition of universities and suppliers, retailers, NGOs and government entities working together to build a global product-lifecycle database, measuring the impact and resource use of products from raw materials through to end-of-life. Walmart said it intends to make the database open to the world rather than use it as proprietary information, although the company has yet to choose a partner help develop of the database.
Finally, once all the lifecycle data has been compiled and analyzed, Walmart and its partners will develop a customer-facing rating system to enable shoppers to make choices based on the environmental impact of their purchases.
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