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Flexo Sustainable : Winter 2008
All art courtesy Wal-Mart Stores inc. Scorecard, Metrics: Talk of 2008 P ackaging Metrics—with Feb. 1 fast approaching, this hot-button term, along with its closely related sister statement “Sustainability Scorecard,” are the buzzwords in the industry. Everyone is watching any and all moves made by America’s single largest retailer—Wal-Mart Stores Inc. In all corners of the globe, the entire packaging development pipeline stands acutely aware of the giant retailer’s five-year plan to move out to cut packaging costs by $3.4 billion and reduce the volume of packages passing through its stores by 5 percent. Kick-off is set for 2008, with the deadline for accomplishing these strategic objectives set for Calendar Year 2013. Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar, director of packaging, Sam’s Club; and co-Manager, Wal-Mart Packaging Sustainable Value Network, a past contributor to FLEXO Magazine, maintains that the focus is threefold. “Objectives for the Wal-Mart. Sustainable Packaging Scorecard are to create and implement a tool which supports the definition of sustainability, provides suppliers and buyers with direction and measures progress.” Three areas are targeted: 1. Renewable energy. 2. Zero waste. 3. Use of preferred products and packaging metrics. Wal-Mart’s buyers have their marching orders in hand. Zettlemoyer-Lazar reports. In short, they are to embrace the 7Rs—environmentally favorable attributes—of packaging: Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew, Revenue, and Read. The retailer holds that packages can and should be designed for reuse, and as such incorporate recyclable content. Last February, it introduced 60,000 suppliers to its Sustainability Scorecard and invited them to populate the data. In the first month, 2,268 vendors logged on to the site and entered 117 products into the system, In later months, such as October and November, 17,182 and then 14,521 individual scorecard visits were documented. This February retail chain executives expect the scorecard to be 100 percent populated. At that time, Wal-Mart will begin us- 8 Sustainable FLEXO Winter 2008 ing the packaging scorecard to measure and recognize its entire supply chain, based upon each company’s ability to use less packaging, utilize more effective materials in packaging, and source these materials more efficiently relative to other suppliers. MeaSureS & MeTricS A corporate statement outlining the policy reads, “Our packaging scorecard will enable our suppliers to measure the sustainability of their products, receive a grade based on their results and learn about ways to improve their packaging.” Their hope is that Wal-Mart will be able to receive first-hand feedback from suppliers and manufacturers to determine exactly what’s working, then encourage them to develop and implement more sustainable business practices into their packaging operations. The position paper goes on to say, “Our buyers have the oppor- tunity to use the information provided in the packaging scorecard to make better, more comprehensive purchasing decisions, and may show preference to those suppliers who have demonstrated a commitment to producing more sustainable packaging.” WalMart buyers continue to be reminded that sales, margin, inventory and all associated revenue-generating considerations must be factored into all buying decisions. . Zettlemoyer-Lazar points out, “At Wal-Mart, on the packaging side, we don’t truly believe there should be added cost for a green package. Everything you look at across the supply chain should be cost neutral or cost savings. We are an everyday low cost provider. We need to stay true to that for our shareholders and our customers.” Matt Kistler, vice president of package and product innovations for Sam’s Club, adds, “We at Wal-Mart recognize 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.” Wal-Mart’s packaging scorecard is a measurement tool that allows suppliers to evaluate themselves relative to other suppliers, based on specific metrics. Through months of consultations, the www. f le xomag.com