Wal-Mart Polls Suppliers on Sustainability

Wal-Mart Stores yesterday said it has begun polling its largest U.S. suppliers about their sustainability practices as part of the company’s effort to spearhead the creation of vast database containing the “complete life cycle” of all the products it sells.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here yesterday said it has begun polling its largest U.S. suppliers about their sustainability practices as part of the company’s effort to spearhead the creation of vast database containing the “complete life cycle” of all the products it sells.

Suppliers have been asked to complete the 15-question survey, which asks about water usage, waste disposal and other information, by Oct. 1, as an initial step toward creating the database.

In a webcast yesterday, Wal-Mart said it was merely “spurring the creation” of the database and that it did not anticipate “owning” the data. It is also assembling a consortium of universities that it hopes will work with governments, suppliers and non-government organizations to collect the “knowledge of the global supply chain” that will go into the creation of the database.

“Customers want and expect businesses to be transparent,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart’s chief executive officer, in the webcast.

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