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CSR Press Release

Wal-Mart Announces Global Responsible Sourcing Initiative at China Summit

Submitted by: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Categories: Environment, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Oct 22, 2008 – 12:34 AM EST

 

Company sets new goals and greater expectations for environmental and social compliance, transparency and accountability

BEIJING, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) took the next step in its sustainability journey by hosting an unprecedented gathering of more than 1,000 leading suppliers, Chinese officials and NGOs in Beijing, China. The company outlined a series of aggressive goals and expectations to build a more environmentally and socially responsible global supply chain.

"Sustainability is about building a better business. We think it is essential to our future success as a retailer -- and to meeting the expectations of customers," said Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "Maintaining the trust of our customers -- today and in the future -- is tied hand-in-hand with improving the quality of our supplier factories and their products."

The company will focus on areas aimed at meeting or exceeding social and environmental standards, driving innovation and efficiency and building stronger partnerships with suppliers, government and NGOs.

Scott continued, "I firmly believe that a company that cheats on overtime and on the age of its labor, that dumps its scraps and chemicals in our rivers, that does not pay its taxes or honor its contracts -- will ultimately cheat on the quality of its products. And cheating on the quality of products is the same as cheating on customers. We will not tolerate that at Wal-Mart."

Addressing suppliers in attendance, Mike Duke, vice chairman for Wal-Mart's international division outlined a number of requirements and expectations for suppliers who want to do business with Wal-Mart.

"Achieving the goals that we lay out today is going to require a common commitment. It's going to take even stronger and deeper relationships. And it is going to take all of us working together," said Duke. "We are expecting more of ourselves at Wal-Mart, and we will also expect more of our suppliers."

Responsible Sourcing
At the Summit, Wal-Mart laid out a series of requirements for companies who want to do business with Wal-Mart. These requirements include:

  • Required demonstration of compliance with environmental laws and regulations -- China's desire for a cleaner environment is clear, and the laws on the books reflect that. Wal-Mart is taking a number of steps to further strengthen and enforce supplier compliance with environmental and social standards, including the creation of a new supplier agreement that will require factories to certify compliance with laws and regulations where they operate as well as rigorous social and environmental standards. The agreement will be phased in beginning with suppliers in China in January 2009 and expanding to suppliers around the world by 2011.

  • Partner with suppliers to improve energy efficiency and use fewer natural resources -- Wal-Mart will partner with suppliers to improve energy efficiency in the top 200 factories it sources from directly in China by 20 percent by 2012. The company will share information and best practices with all of the factories it sources from as well as its competitors.

  • Higher standards of product safety and quality -- Wal-Mart aims to drive returns on defective merchandise virtually out of existence by 2012.

  • Greater transparency and ownership -- By 2009, Wal-Mart will require all direct import suppliers plus all suppliers of private label and non-branded products to provide the name and location of every factory they use to make the products it sells. The company will also have all suppliers it buys from directly to source 95 percent of their production from factories that receive the highest ratings on environmental and social practices by 2012.
Wal-Mart also announced a major effort to make Wal-Mart China a leader in sustainability in China by committing to make its stores more sustainable. The company will design and open a new store prototype that uses 40 percent less energy and will reduce energy use at existing stores by 30 percent by 2010. In addition, during the next two years, Wal-Mart China will aim to cut water use in all of its stores in half by investing in new hardware and systems and developing best practices that will help its associates and stores use water more efficiently.

The company also pledged to bring more environmentally sustainable products to its store shelves.

Outlining the steps Wal-Mart will take to become the most environmentally responsible retailer in China, Wal-Mart China President and CEO Ed Chan addressed the need for collaboration between Wal-Mart, the company's suppliers and the Chinese government. "Few challenges in our world today are more pressing than protecting the environment and, in China, Wal-Mart has a unique opportunity to lead," said Chan. "With the world's largest population, and a robust manufacturing industry, no market presents a greater opportunity for environmental sustainability to take hold than China."

On the environment, the Chinese government has set strong goals for sustainability and Wal-Mart is aligned with those goals. Wal-Mart and the Administrative Center for China's Agenda 21 of the Ministry of Science and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will serve as an example of a partnership that benefits both industry and government. Wal-Mart China will also reach beyond its own operations to engage customers and suppliers and form partnerships with government and NGOs.

The Summit builds on Lee Scott's "Company of the Future" speech to
Wal-Mart store managers in January, 2008. In the speech, Wal-Mart pledged to make the company's operations in China more sustainable and our build a more environmentally and socially responsible global supply.

NOTE: A replay of the China Summit can be viewed via Web cast at: http://www.walmartstores.com

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Walmart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom and, through a joint venture, in India. The Company's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.

China Sustainability Summit: Fact Sheet

On October 22, 2008 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. took the next step in its sustainability journey by hosting an unprecedented gathering of more than 1,000 leading suppliers, Chinese officials and NGOs in Beijing, China and outlined a series of aggressive goals and expectations to build a more environmentally and socially responsible global supply chain. These efforts and others are helping Wal-Mart follow through on commitments the company made in January about China and our mission of saving people money so they can live better.

Building a More Environmentally and Socially Responsible Supply Chain

Wal-Mart believes that bringing sustainability in its operations and its supply chain -- selling and making products in an efficient, ethical and environmentally responsible way -- will be essential to meeting the expectations of customers in the future. Wal-Mart will work with its suppliers to become a more environmentally and socially responsible retailer in China and to set new standards for responsible sourcing throughout the global supply chain.

Required Demonstration of Compliance with Environmental Laws and Regulations

China's desire for a cleaner environment is clear, and the laws on the books reflect that. Wal-Mart is taking a number of steps to further strengthen and enforce supplier compliance with environmental and social standards, including the creation of a new supplier agreement that will require factories to certify compliance with laws and regulations where they operate as well as rigorous social and environmental standards.

Suppliers will need to take ownership of compliance in their factories and they will need to demonstrate that they are regularly and rigorously auditing their own factories. Wal-Mart will step-up and strengthen the company's own unannounced audits and will require suppliers to allow third-party audits.

Wal-Mart's audits will now include a focus on specific environmental criteria -- including a factory's air emissions, its wastewater discharges, and its management of toxic substances and hazardous waste disposal. The agreement will be phased in beginning with suppliers in China in January 2009 and expand to suppliers around the world by 2011.

Over time, Wal-Mart expects to have stronger, closer and deeper relationships with suppliers who share Wal-Mart's commitment to being socially and environmentally responsible. And as part of that, those who share Wal-Mart's goals, who innovate, who become more efficient and who drive sustainable practices throughout their own businesses will be more likely to share in Wal-Mart's business growth.

Improved Supplier Energy Efficiency
Wal-Mart will partner with its suppliers to improve energy efficiency and use fewer natural resources. Over the last few years, Wal-Mart has worked to reduce the footprint of its stores and buildings and is now asking its suppliers' factories in China to do the same. Wal-Mart's goal is for the top 200 factories it sources from to achieve a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2012. The company will share information and best practices with all of the factories it sources from as well as its competitors.

Higher Standards of Product Safety and Quality
Wal-Mart customers trust that Wal-Mart is a place where they will find top-quality products. Wal-Mart is asking its suppliers to take safety and quality to an even higher level because paying more in the short term will mean paying less in the long term as a company. Wal-Mart aims to drive returns on defective merchandise virtually out of existence by 2012.

Greater Transparency and Ownership
An environmentally and socially responsible supply chain cannot be achieved without a system that promotes open communication and accountability. By 2009, Wal-Mart will require all direct import suppliers plus all suppliers of private label and non-branded products to provide the name and location of every factory they use to make the products Wal-Mart sells. This process will begin in the area of apparel and will then move forward with a phased-in approach for home, toys and other product categories. By the end of 2009, Wal-Mart expects that the roll-out will include all merchandise.

Wal-Mart will also require all suppliers it buys from directly to source 95 percent of their production from factories that receive the highest ratings in audits for environmental and social practices by 2012.

Applying Wal-Mart's Sustainability Vision to its China Operations
Few challenges in our world today are more pressing than protecting the environment and, in China, Wal-Mart has a unique opportunity to lead. With the largest population, and a robust manufacturing industry, no market presents a greater opportunity for environmental sustainability to take hold than China.

Making Stores More Energy Efficient
Wal-Mart China will design and open a new store prototype that uses 40 percent less energy and will reduce energy use by 30 percent in existing stores by 2010. By making our existing Wal-Mart China stores 30 percent more efficient over the next two years, the company can prevent the release of more than 310,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year.

Using Water More Responsibly
During the next two years, Wal-Mart China will aim to cut water use in all of its stores by half by investing in new hardware and systems and developing best practices that will help its associates and stores use water more efficiently.

Bringing More Environmentally Sustainable Products to Store Shelves
In the coming years, Wal-Mart China will stock its shelves with more environmentally responsible products. These items will require less energy to manufacture and use and will create less waste.

By working closely with the Ministry of Commerce, Wal-Mart China will expand the success of its Direct Farm Program by engaging as many as one million farmers, allowing Wal-Mart China to bring its customers better quality, sustainably-harvested produce, and better financial returns to farmers by 2011.

Wal-Mart China will also help its customers use less energy by ensuring that all energy-intensive appliances it sells use 25 percent less energy than they do today by 2011. This will eliminate 8,000 tons of coal from being burned for energy and save Wal-Mart China customers 16 million RMB on their power bills.

Wal-Mart China will reduce the hazardous substances in products sold in its stores by ensuring that half of the electronics on its shelves will be RoHS compliant, a standard used globally for reducing hazardous substances in the manufacturing of electronics, by 2010.

To sell products that create less waste and use less of our natural resources, Wal-Mart China will work with suppliers to reduce packaging on all products by 5 percent by 2013.

Working Closely with the Chinese Government and the NGO Community
On the environment, the Chinese government has set strong goals for sustainability and Wal-Mart is aligned with those goals. Wal-Mart and the Administrative Center for China's Agenda 21 of the Ministry of Science and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will serve as an example of a partnership that benefits both industry and government. Wal-Mart China will also reach beyond its own operations to engage customers and suppliers and form partnerships with government and NGOs.

Wal-Mart China will continue to rely on the expertise of NGOs to drive greater innovation in its stores and higher environmental standards in the supply chain.

For more information, please contact:

Greg Rossiter Walmart Stores Inc.(US)
Phone: 1-800-331-0085
Jonathan Dong Walmart Stores Inc.(China)
Phone: 86-10-8408-0088, ext. 6209

For more from this organization:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

 

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