NEWS: Wal-Mart to Unveil Product Life Cycle Labeling Tomorrow

Dispatch from SSC Intern Jason Wirick

The superstore juggernaut Wal-Mart is about to expose to suppliers and competitors its plan to provide life cycle scores for all the products sold in the chain’s stores. The company has been developing this sustainability index for several years now. Wal-Mart officials believe that they can incorporate a rating for all their products in less than two years.

The retail giant has taken the lead and will most probably act the role of the market regulator. With the implementation of a sustainability labeling system, Wal-Mart will set the bar for similar grocers and merchandisers. And for their upcoming July 16th meeting to unveil their plan, Wal-Mart officials have invited suppliers, university groups, government officials, and even competitors so all can be a part of this ground-breaking announcement.

In a recent Big Money article, Rand Woddoups, Wal-Mart’s Senior Director of Business Strategy and Sustainability stated:

Bringing clarity to this question of what is more sustainable is a key role for Wal-Mart. Imagine one day when every product on the shelf has behind it enough information from a life-cycle-thinking perspective that allows us to be much, much more intelligent about how we're buying. And really, in the end, eventually, what consumers should be.
Labeling products with life cycle assessment indices and supply chain disclosures will provide consumers with a clearer picture of the impacts of their decisions. Pulling together and implementing their plan will be a difficult and a time consuming endeavor for Wal-Mart. And one can only hope that the retail giant will not only continue to pursue its sustainability index, but also spread such practices through-out the entire industry, in order to support informed decision-making by consumers.

Read the entire Big Money article by clicking here.