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In mid-July 2008, WMT joined the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN). Through this, the company aimed to phase out illegal and unwanted wood sources from its supply chain. ‘By joining the GFTN we can further this goal by providing our customers with a reliable supply of wood products that come from responsibly managed forests’, said Matt Kistler, Senior Vice President Sustainability, WMT.19WMT sourced its furniture from Indonesia, China and Brazil. All of these regions were known for their illegal logging and trade. Observers pointed out that the US market had an influential role to play in pro-tecting forests because the country was the largest global consumer of industrial timber, pulp and paper. WMT expected that by mid-2009, it would be able to assess where all its wood furniture was coming from. According to WMT, the company would, within five years, eliminate products that come from illegal and unknown sources. The organization would stop selling wood related products that were coming from endangered forests. In early 2008, the company committed that, within four years, it will purchase only Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood sold in the US.In September 2007, WMT partnered with the Carbon Disclosure Project to initiate a pilot project that looked into the amount of energy consumed through the supply chain while creating seven products (DVD’s, toothpaste, soap, milk, beer, vacuum cleaners and soda). This partnership was intended to encourage suppliers to reduce their greenhouse emissions.19(Accessed on 4 November 2009).at Alliant International University on March 10, 2010 Downloaded from
WAL-MART’SENVIRONMENTALSTRATEGY127ASIANJOURNALOFMANAGEMENTCASES, 6(2), 2009: 119–133POLLUTION=WASTE=COSTThe company was looking for every opportunity to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of its business. In addition to being good for the environment, these initiatives saved money. By reducing the packaging size of the company’s toy brand, Kid Connection, WMT saved US$ 2.4 million annually in transportation and 3,800 trees.WMT believed that its pledge to reduce one-third of the annual shopping bag waste would eliminate plastic waste equivalent to 9 billion plastic bags per year—more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste. ‘By pledging to cut its bag waste by one-third by 2013, Wal-Mart is taking a clear step forward in reducing global waste’,20said Gwen Ruta, Vice President Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense Fund.21The plastic reduction effort was expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 290,000 metric tons per year and reduce the energy consumption of 678,000 barrels of oil. WMT also made economic gains from this initiative. On 12 May 2008 WMT Canada announced that it would eliminate plastic packaging in the energy saving light bulb category. The change to cardboard packaging was expected to save approximately 150,000 pounds of plastic waste every year.