FPA Update June 2012: Walmart Continues As a Leader in Sustainability
As a member of the Walmart Sustainable Value Network (SVN), the Flexible Packaging Association participated in the SVN meeting, which was held in conjunction with Walmart’s 7th annual Packaging Expo in Roger, Arkansas from May 7–9, 2012.
Commitment to Sustainability
During the meeting, Tom Leech, SVP of Walmart, commented that there is commitment to sustainability at all levels of Walmart management, including active involvement from Rob Walton through every Walmart associate. Leech also noted that Walmart’s sustainability program is driving change around the globe.
To speed up sustainability projects, and further their sustainability commitment, all Walmart buyers will have accountability on sustainability progress, with the understanding that to be sustainable the efforts must be economically viable and drive better business results.
Studies have shown that almost one-half of consumers want to buy products that are environmentally sustainable; however, two-thirds say they will not pay more for sustainability. Leech noted that there is a misperception that sustainable products have to cost more. He also said key is improving freight and handling, and damage reduction. They also believe that eliminating unsustainable packaging is another way to reduce costs.
New Ideas for New Results
Walmart is challenging product and packaging suppliers to bring them new ideas that will turn into results, and they believe there is an urgency in doing it. They want to increase efficiency at the store level including door to floor, and in display and merchandizing. They want to excite the consumer.
Chet Rutledge, Walmart’s Director of Packaging, Private Brands, and Robert Parvis, Director of Packaging, Sam’s Club, discussed how to drive packaging through the Walmart system and align packaging as part of the process. They commented that packaging is a tool for differentiation and it can help to drive sales. For more information on specific recommendations, visit the Members Only Section of the FPA website,www.flexpack.org