Walmart is developing a universal rating system to help consumers determine which products are truly sustainable. The rating system would scrutinize a product’s entire life-cycle by focusing on broad factors, rather than the usual marketing gibberish that extolls isolated virtues. So why is Walmart, of all companies, deciding which products are environmentally sound?
“Nobody else could pull this off,” said Michelle Harvey at Environmental Defense Fund, one of the groups involved in the creation of the index.
The question, of course, is whether even Wal-Mart can make it happen.
Wal-Mart plans to begin by asking its more than 100,000 suppliers around the world to answer 15 simple questions about the sustainable practices of their companies. Questions include “Have you set publicly available greenhouse gas reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets?”
The first set of questions focus on four main areas, including “energy and climate, material efficiency, natural resources, and people and community.”
The rating system is certainly ambitious, and if successful, would empower consumers to judge a product’s green credentials at a glance. Expect the ratings to appear on products sometime within the next five years.
At Wal-Mart, Labeling to Reflect Green Intent [The New York Times]
Wal-Mart To Become Green Umpire [The Big Money]
Walmart’s Sustainable Product Index aims to develop green rating [Consumer Reports]