Wal-Mart's Sustainability Initiative: The Packaging Scorecard

Authors: Gupta, V.; Chakraborty, B
Source: IBS Center for Management Research
Year: 2009
Company Name: Wal-Mart
Number of pages: 18

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This case details the sustainability initiatives of the US-based Wal-Mart Stores Incorporated. It describes the packaging scorecard that was introduced by Wal-Mart on 1 November 2006, which aimed at reducing product packaging by 5 percent by 2013. In the packaging scorecard system, the suppliers were required to enter information regarding the packaging of each product. Each product packaging was then judged in terms of different metrics of sustainability that included green house gas emissions produced per ton of packaging, size of packaging, use of raw materials, use of renewable energy, recycled content, transportation impacts, innovation, etc. With the scorecard, Wal-Mart could evaluate its suppliers on their performance in ensuring environment friendly packaging. Wal-Mart also attracted some criticism for its packaging scorecard. Analysts said that the scorecard was more of a green washing. They opined that the company was putting needless pressure on its suppliers to comply with the requirements of the scorecard.

The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives: (1) study the sustainability initiatives of Wal-Mart; (2) understand the need for sustainable packaging; (3) evaluate Wal-Mart's packaging scorecard and its different metrics; (4) examine the criticisms against the scorecard; (5) analyse the future of the packaging scorecard. The teaching note includes: (1) the abstract; (2) the teaching objectives and target audience; (3) teaching methodology; (4) assignment questions; (5) feedback of the case discussion; and (6) suggested readings and references. It does not contain an analysis of the case.

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