Walmart Sustainability

I think the only thing that we can say to customers

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Unformatted text preview: d affects on reproductive health. However, in announcing the program, the network did not widely share these metrics (or the corresponding ratings) and was careful to avoid references to concepts such as toxicity and safety for fear of negatively affecting other chemical-based products on Walmart’s shelves. Even though metrics and data related to personal and family health were compelling to customers, they were considered risky in terms of potentially inviting lawsuits, alienating consumers, or damaging the company’s reputation if inaccurate information was later uncovered (as discovered with Procter & Gamble’s paper towels during the 1989 environmental campaign). Even if suppliers eliminated the three undesirable chemicals, Walmart could not advertise the improvement to customers. “Since we don’t know the formulation and own the label, we can’t really call attention to the products that meet our preferred chemical principles,” said Joan Menke-Schaenzer, vice president of food safety and food security for Walmart, and co-captain of the network. “I think the only thing that we can say to customers is that we care about them and that we’re pushing to bring them preferred products.” The company faced the risk that other chemicals in these products, perhaps even the substitutes for the three undesirable chemicals, could have negative health or environmental implications. As a result, Walmart would not move back to a system of putting its own “green tags” on products and would not force the manufacturers to take responsibility for promoting the environmental and health benefits of their products on their labels. Manufacturers would decide to do this based on their own level of confidence in the sustainability-related attributes of their products (which hinged on whether or not they had completed the necessary scientific research to back their claims and/or the level of risk they were willing to bear in communicating directly with customers). Walmart’s Sustainability Strategy (A) OIT-71A p. 23 Supplier Performance Measurement More than ever before, Walmart was dependent on the cooper...
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