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Flexo Sustainable : Winter 2008
sCoreCard Update We’re achieving success in our efforts by applying the follow- ing principles when working with our buyers to identify better package designs: •Remove packaging. We’re eliminating unnecessary packaging, extra boxes or layers of packaging. •Reduce packaging. We’re looking for “right-size” packages and packages that optimize material strength and are designed appropriately for their content and merchandising requirements. •Reuse packaging. We’re utilizing a system by CHEP in which pallets and reusable plastic containers (RPCs) are pooled together for sharing with multiple users. •Use renewable packaging. We want to use materials made of renewable resources and to select materials that are biodegradable or compostable. •Use recyclable packaging. We’re using materials made of the highest recycled content without compromising quality, and we’re using post-consumer-recycled (PCR) material where appropriate. Components are chosen based on their recyclability post-use; and we’re building packaging out of singlematerial components for easy sorting and recycling. •Minimize financial impact. We want to achieve all the principles above at cost parity or cost savings for our customers. Fresh Ideas For Change Working with our suppliers, we are making great strides in improving packaging on the products we sell and in decreasing our environmental footprint, and we’re constantly looking for ways the existing packaging can last even longer. We’re also making some pretty exciting changes of our own—and some of the best ideas have come from our own associates. One store manager in Connecticut found loose plastic to be unruly and hard to collect for recycling, so he devised an innovative baling system called the “sandwich bale.” An associate places 10 in. to 20 in. of cardboard at the bottom of a large trash compactor, loads the loose plastic in and places another section of cardboard on top. The compactor then presses the bale into a “sandwich” with 9 in to 18 in. of recyclable plastic in the middle. These bales are then loaded onto a truck to be recycled into other products that range from very dense plastic lumber to very thin shopping bags. We tried it out in just over 300 stores, and so far, we estimate that we’ve diverted 1,100 tons of plastic from entering landfills in the communities we serve. Given the success of this program, we plan to roll it out to more stores. Every day we’re learning. Every day we’re finding new ways to operate our business in a more efficient, more sustainable way— to the benefit of our customers, our communities and our world. We’re doing the right things, and we’ve got the potential to do so much more. Five, 10 or 20 years from now, we’ll be able to look back at the progress we will have made—and the enormous potential still before us —and be very proud. About the author: Amy Zettlemoyer is director of packaging for SAM’S CLUB. www. f le xomag.com WINTER 2008 Sustainable FLEXO 7 On Feb. 1, Wal-Mart officially began using its packaging scorecard to rate suppliers on their progress toward developing sustainable packaging, as well as their ability to help the retail giant reach its company-wide sustainability goals to reduce waste, use renewable energy and sell sustainable products. Wal-Mart buyers are able to use the scorecard as a tool when making purchasing decisions. First unveiled at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006, and put through a trial phase for the past year, the scorecard is Wal-Mart’s next step in moving toward its goal to achieve a 5 percent packaging reduction by 2013. As of Jan. 30, more than 97,000 products have been entered into the scorecard by 6,371 distinct vendors. Last year, suppliers were given the opportunity to input and track data, learn about the scorecard and work with buyers to start thinking about sustainable packaging solutions. The scorecard evaluates the sustainability of product packaging based on several key metrics, including greenhouse gas emissions, productto-package ratio, space utilization, innovation, the amount of renewable energy used in packaging production and emissions related to the distance packaging materials are transported. Suppliers receive a score in each category and can view how they rate overall compared to their competitors in each product category. Throughout 2008, Wal-Mart will continue to work with its Packaging Sustainable Value Network comprised of suppliers, government agencies, academics, trade associations and nongovernmental organizations to verify the methodology behind the calculations in the scorecard. While the questions asked of the product suppliers in the scorecard will remain the same, the calculations made behind the scenes in the scorecard could be refined. The packaging scorecard announcement comes on the heels of Wal-Mart President and CEO Lee Scott’s “Company of the Future” speech to Wal-Mart store managers in Kansas City on Jan. 23, 2008. In the speech, Scott laid out the company’s vision for addressing major issues that are important to the company and the world. He announced high-level goals and commitments in three areas – health care, energy efficiency and ethical sourcing. For more information and a transcript of the speech, visit www.walmartfacts.com.