Today, the Walmart Foundation announced an $875,000 grant to The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) to expand their recent efforts to support Chinese businesses in identifying and capturing sustainability improvement opportunities in Chinese product supply chains. This will be achieved by conducting sustainability research in two new key product categories – footwear and large appliances – and building capacity of Consortium partners and related institutions to further TSC objectives. The grant also will help charter a path for future growth.
With a $2 million USD grant from the Walmart Foundation in 2012, TSC began operations in China and started helping Chinese businesses to identify and capture sustainability improvement opportunities in Chinese product supply chains. With China’s enormous impact on global trade systems there is tremendous benefit to be gained if stakeholder groups understand, help build, and adopt a globally-harmonized method of researching, measuring, and communicating sustainability standards and good practices across the full lifecycle of products.
The announcement was made by Guy Robertson, Vice President of Global Sourcing for Walmart, at a high-level forum in Beijing titled “Sustainability Policy and Practice – Promoting a Sustainable Supply Chain.” The forum, co-hosted by TSC, Columbia Global Centers | East Asia; Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC), addressed experiences, strategies and best practices in sustainable development, focusing on the supply chain and the opportunity to bolster Chinese enterprise and create a positive impact on sustainability in China. Included was a review of the work undertaken by TSC in developing the sustainability index over the past two and a half years.
“At Walmart, sustainability requires collaboration with NGOs, government agencies, suppliers and many other partners, spanning all the major areas of its supply chain, including suppliers, logistics, store operations and customers,” said Robertson. “Over the past year, more than 100 of our largest direct suppliers in China are actively using the sustainability index developed by TSC to evaluate their product sustainability; these efforts reinforce our commitment to help the People of China live better.”
The significant new funding supports the extension of partnership between Walmart China and TSC in further developing their collaboration in sustainability.
“The Sustainability Consortium mission is to create more sustainable consumer products across sectors and throughout entire product lifecycles,” stated Sheila Bonini, Chief Executive Officer of TSC. “A significant amount of consumer goods impact is in the supply chain, and China is central to the global consumer product supply chain. This grant will enable TSC to further our mission and expand the impact of our work in China, which will have meaningful global implications.”
At the forum, the Earth Institute and the Columbia Global Centers | East Asia also presented their findings from a recent project with TSC, evaluating TSC work in China, which aims to improve the systems and tools for assessing product sustainability. The evaluation team will share lessons learned for promoting a sustainable supply chain in China, specifically relating to establishing partnerships, engaging local stakeholders, and building capacity for Chinese suppliers. Forum sessions will also cover existing green supply chain policy and standards, present urban sustainability metrics and frameworks, and share international and domestic best practices in sustainability for businesses. The sustainability index enables all partners involved in this project to work with CEC in alignment with Chinese government’s agenda of “Greenization” in economic progress released in March 2015. It is also hoped that this sustainability index will be applied in local government agencies’ work in sustainability.
In recent years, Walmart Foundation has been undertaking various sustainability initiatives in line with its long-term strategy in promoting environmental sustainability and building a green supply chain across all sectors. In addition to supporting TSC in promoting the sustainability index since 2012, Walmart Foundation has sponsored various sustainability programs in China, including the Green Farmer project on sustainable agriculture training for farmers in partnership with BSR since 2011, Apple Training project in partnership with Cornell University and UC Davis with a total of nearly 150k small apple holders being trained, cotton training project in Xinjiang and Hebei with Solidaridad since Jan.2014, and the Sustainable Fishery Partnership announcement in Jan.2015.
Walmart’s Sustainability with Suppliers
As part of Walmart’s sustainability initiative on the part of suppliers, TSC’s energy expert has helped conduct on-site energy efficiency assessments with key Chinese entertainment suppliers. More than 200 suppliers in China are trained on using the Resource Efficiency Deployment Engine, or RedE, which is a platform for working with factories on energy efficiency recommendations. This is a tool developed by McKinsey and Company and supported by TSC.
Walmart’s Sustainability at Distribution Centers
Walmart incorporates the idea of sustainability into all of its business functions in China. By collecting and reusing cartons recycled from stores, Walmart greatly reduced the purchase of new cartons. In Walmart distribution centers, both ribbon skylight and headlamp are used as lighting, thus reducing the amount of lighting in facilities during the day. Walmart completed the remodel of LED lighting system in Shenzhen DC, Tianjin DC and Jiaxing DC, which can save 20%-30% of energy over ordinary lamps.
Walmart’s Sustainability at Stores
One of the major sustainability initiatives at Walmart China is the construction of green energy-efficient stores by actively adopting new technology and the remodeling of existing stores. From 2013 to 2015, as many as 168 stores have been retrofitted with LED lighting, saving an estimated total power of 168 million KWs. Over the next three years, Walmart China will continue to promote in-store energy savings plan with all stores using LED lighting.
Walmart’s Sustainability with Customers
This year from April 22 to April 26 for the 46th International Earth Day, Walmart China held a themed event of “Caring for the Earth, Action via QR Code”, in nine stores across China, in partnership with The Nature Company (TNC) and 11 major suppliers, with a total participation of more than 30,000 customers, raising a total fund of more than RMB 15,500 for tree-planting in China’s rural regions.
In recent years, China has been focused on accelerating its economic development through the four pillars of “Industrialization, Informatization, Urbanization, and Agricultural Modernization.” In March 2015, the pillar of “Greenization” was officially added to this development framework in order to reflect the importance of environmental sustainability to China’s goals of economic progress. With advanced policy development, sustainability can stimulate huge economic opportunities, investment, and consumer demand. It is in this context that the forum discussed how green supply chains provide a unique opportunity to bolster business development and create a positive and lasting impact on sustainability in China. Walmart’s long-term commitment to sustainability is fully in line with this positive trend.
About The Sustainability Consortium (TSC)
The Sustainability Consortium® (TSC®) is a global nonprofit organization working at the intersection of science and business to enable the consumer goods industry to develop, produce and sell more sustainable products. TSC creates tools, strategies and services that are based in science, informed by stakeholders and focused on impact across the entire lifecycle of consumer products, including environmental, social and economic imperatives. The Sustainability Consortium is comprised of more than 100 members, including manufacturers, retailers, NGOs, civil society and corporations that work collaboratively on innovation for a new generation of products and supply networks. The Sustainability Consortium is jointly administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas, with additional operations at Wageningen UR in the Netherlands and Nanjing University in China.
About Columbia Global Centers | East Asia
Columbia Global Centers | East Asia, launched in March 2009, is one of eight Global Centers established by Columbia University operating around the world to connect the university’s faculty and students with the thinking communities in the regions working on global issues. The Center’s projects aim to engage the University with issues, ideas and counterparts in China and the East Asia region through collaborations across a number of fields, including sustainable development, urbanization, urban health, international relations and global governance, gender equality, educational reform, social media, public health, and arts.
About the Earth Institute
The Earth Institute is a new form of academic institution designed to institutionalize interaction among many academic fields and professional disciplines to address the problems of global sustainability. With Columbia University as its foundation, the Earth Institute draws upon the scientific rigor and academic leadership for which the University is known to create an inter-disciplinary community dedicated to cutting-edge research to help develop solutions to the challenges to global sustainability.
The Earth Institute Research Program on Sustainability Management and Policy provides a rigorous analytic base to help inform sustainability decision-making. Leveraging the diverse subject matter expertise from the research centers, faculty, and students at the Earth Institute and Columbia University, the Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management addresses the fundamental issues facing professionals and policy makers implementing sustainability strategies.
China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC)
CEC is a non-profit organization established with the approval of Ministry of Environment Protection (MEP). It is a part of the Environmental Development Center of Ministry of Environment Protection (MEP-EDC). It is a third-party professional certification institution with independent corporate capacity and was accredited by CNAS and authorized by CNCA. Its business scope focuses on the area of environmental protection including China Environmental Labeling products, Environmental Management System, Greenhouse Gas Validation and Verification, Carbon emissions Verification, Energy Auditing, and Green Supply Chain etc. It is the Clean Development Mechanism Designated Operation Entity (CDM-DOE), also, with the qualification approved and granted by UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board (CDM-EB).
About Philanthropy at Walmart
About Philanthropy at Walmart
By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. We have stores in 27 countries, employing more than 2.2 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. We are helping people live better by accelerating upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where we operate and inspiring our associates to give back. Whether it is helping to lead the fight against hunger in the United States with $2 billion in cash and in-kind donations or supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment through a series of grants totaling $10 million to the Women in Factories training program in Bangladesh, China, India and Central America. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are not only working to tackle key social issues, we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.
For more information please contact:
The Sustainability Consortium:
TSC China: Jiali Pan
TSC US: Susan Arnot Heaney