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Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, yesterday (1 November) unveiled its packaging scorecard to suppliers at PACK EXPO International. Wal-Mart hopes that the scheme, which was first announced in September, will reduce packaging across its global supply chain by 5% by 2013.

“We at Wal-Mart recognise that we have unique strengths and a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on the environment through our own actions, those of our customers, and those of our suppliers,” said Matt Kistler, vice president of package & product innovations for Sam’s Club. “As vital as the packaging initiative is to reaching our environmental goals, it is also very good for our business and our suppliers’ business.”

Wal-Mart’s packaging scorecard allows suppliers’ packaging to be evaluated and compared to the packaging offered by other suppliers and is based on specific metric data. The metrics included in the scorecard have been developed from Wal-Mart’s ‘7 R’s of Packaging’: Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew, Revenue and Read.

The scorecard points are divided as follows: 15% will be based on GHG / CO2 per ton of production; 15% will be based on material value; 15% will be based on product / package ratio; 15% will be based on cube utilisation; 10% will be based on transportation; 10% will be based on recycled content; 10% will be based on recovery value; 5% will be based on renewable energy; and 5% will be based on innovation.

 “The packaging scorecard is a great tool for Wal-Mart to run a more efficient business, but also has significant benefits for its suppliers,” said Ben Miyares, vice president of industry relations for the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) which hosted PACK EXPO. “This company is showing real leadership by introducing a tool and a process to get tangible results toward an ambitious goal.”

As of yesterday, more than 2,000 private label brand suppliers will gain access to the packaging scorecard, including the ability to input information and measure their performance against competitors. On 1 February next year, Wal-Mart’s scorecard will be applied to its global supply chain of more than 60,000 suppliers. At the end of a one-year trial period, as of 1 February 2008, Wal-Mart will begin using the packaging scorecard to measure and recognise its entire supply.

“We are encouraged by the positive response from our suppliers and are looking forward to continuing this collaboration,” added Kistler. “We have an opportunity to make a real positive impact and inspire change across the packaging industry.”