Walmart Canada announces plans for Sustainable Product Index

Index to measure product sustainability

VANCOUVER, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - Walmart Canada announced plans today to launch a Sustainable Product Index that will ultimately help customers across Canada evaluate the sustainability of the products they purchase, from raw materials to disposal. Announced by Walmart in the U.S. this past summer, Walmart Canada is the first Walmart operation outside of the U.S. to initiate the process for the product index.

The announcement was made at the Walmart Canada Green Business Summit in Vancouver today, a high-profile event which brought together more than 300 of Canada's largest corporations, NGOs, academics and government leaders to share the business case for sustainability.

"Customers want value and quality when buying products," said David Cheesewright, President and CEO of Walmart Canada. "They also want to know that products are being made in a responsible way. Once launched, the Sustainable Product Index will give customers transparency into the entire lifecycle of the products they buy, so they know they're safe, made-well and produced responsibly."

The company will introduce the Sustainable Product Index initiative in three long-range phases:

- Phase 1 - Supplier assessment

- Phase 2 - Creation of database

- Phase 3 - Development and launch of customer tool

Phase 1 - Supplier Assessment

Beginning in the summer of 2010, Walmart Canada will provide its top suppliers with a survey of 15 simple questions to evaluate their sustainability efforts. The questions are divided into four areas: energy and climate; material efficiency; natural resources, and; people and community. The survey will be an important first step in assessing the sustainability of suppliers and their products.

Phase 2 - Creation of Database

The second step will include the creation of a Sustainability Index Consortium and the database that will house information on the lifecycle of products. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Walmart Canada's parent company, will initially fund and help create the Consortium, which will include universities, other retailers, suppliers and non-government organizations (NGOs).

The Consortium will take a research-driven approach to developing the database, that will drive the Index, and will look at the full lifecycle of products, from the use of raw materials to the way a product can be recycled or disposed of.

Phase 3 - Development and Launch of Customer Tool

The final step will include the development and launch of the Sustainable Product Index tool, which will help customers identify the sustainability of a product with a simple and convenient rating system. How that information will be delivered to customers is still to be determined, but it may take the form of a numeric score, colour code or some other type of label. The Sustainability Consortium will help determine the scoring process in the coming months and years.

Timing for phases two and three of the initiative will be determined later this year.

About Walmart Canada

Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Walmart Canada operates 317 retail outlets nationwide and serves more than one million customers daily. The company's vision is to demonstrate environmental leadership by reducing the ecological impact of its operations through company-wide programs focused on waste, energy and products, as well as outreach programs that preserve and enhance local environments. Walmart's global goal is to generate zero waste, to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy and to sell products that sustain people and the environment.

For further information: Susan Schutta, corporate affairs, Walmart Canada, (905) 821-2111 x8012