Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can you have your cheap cake and eat it too?

The NY Times has been covering Walmart's recent announcement at the company's first "sustainability summit" requiring that the manufacturers supplying goods for their stores "adhere to stricter ethical and environmental standards" come January. From NY Times' Stephanie Rosenbloom:

The changes signal a move on the part of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, away from intermittent transactions with many suppliers toward longer-term arrangements with a smaller group of manufacturers. Wal-Mart is betting that using its buying power this way can help keep prices low even as it keeps a closer eye on its suppliers.

To ensure suppliers are making changes, Wal-Mart said it would require three levels of audits: from the vendors themselves, from an outside party and from Wal-Mart, which will initiate more of its own random, unannounced audits.

Wal-Mart said the audits would assess factory working conditions as well as compliance by manufacturers with standards regarding air pollution, wastewater discharge, management of toxic substances and disposal of hazardous waste.

Read the entire article here or read further through the DotEarth blog here.


niko said...

Glad to see Wal-mart take steps in the right direction...they are a huge company with enormous spending power, hopefully others will soon follow!

deborah said...

Yes, me too. Earlier this year they started an initiative to put solar panels on the roof of about thirty of their stores (if my memory is serving me correctly). The NY Times has a stat in one of their articles about the incredible amount of solar real estate that is. I'll have to find that article...