BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores has committed to a reduction of phosphate content in laundry and dish detergents in its Americas region by 70% by 2011. The retailer will also bring its U.S.-initiated packaging scorecard to Wal-Mart Americas by the end of this year. It hopes to reduce packaging there by 5% by the end of 2013. Comprising 2,300 stores in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, Brazil and Argentina, Wal-Mart Americas is the retailer’s second-largest business unit behind its U.S. operation.
“Our reach around the world puts us in a unique position to drive sustainable change across national boundaries and into the global supply chain,” said Craig Herkert, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Americas, in a statement. “By further coordinating efforts throughout the region and sharing best practices, we believe we can help our customers save money on the products they need, while improving communities and the environment.”
Phosphates from detergents are a significant contributor to phosphate-based water pollution, according to Wal-Mart. Phosphate compounds can stimulate the growth of algae and damage aquatic ecosystems by depleting the availability of oxygen for fish and algae.
The packaging scorecard is a tool that helps Wal-Mart and its suppliers gauge the environmental efficiency of product packaging. The retailer takes information gleaned from the scorecard into account when making sourcing decisions. As part of this latest initiative, Wal-Mart will launch a Sustainable Value Network to focus on reduced packaging in each market.
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