Walmart to 60,000 Suppliers: We've Got 15 Really Important Questions for You

path sustainable development photo
Pathway to sustainability: get directions from 60,000 before proceeding. Image credit:Lake District National Park

The only way a consumer-oriented company can become more sustainable is by engaging its direct suppliers, encouraging them to do the same for their suppliers, and so on up the chain. The bigger the company, the more powerful this effect can be.

At the top of every modern supply chain is an oil well, or a mine, or a farm, or a logging operation, or a factory - often in distant lands. When supplier "engagement" ripples far up the chain it has the "bullwhip effect" - snapping those who operate most unsustainably, or rewarding those willing to improve their performance. Walmart has decided to trigger this supply "chain reaction" for sustainability sake. Read on for the list of 15 questions they now ask their suppliers.The Walmart supplier questionnaire, presented below, is courtesy of Arkansas Business News. Each and every one of those 60,000+ Walmart suppliers are going to be curious about what the other respondents are saying. They all know that when the Walmart sustainability index is done, that some of them will be ranked higher and some lower.

Which question do you think is the most challenging?

If you are a small business person, how would you react if sent this survey by your largest customer or client?

Material Efficiency: Reducing Waste and Enhancing Quality

1. If measured, please report the total amount of solid waste generated from the facilities that produce your product(s) for Walmart for the most recent year measured.

2. Have you set publicly available solid waste reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets?

3. If measured, please report total water use from facilities that produce your product(s) for Walmart for the most recent year measured.

4. Have you set publicly available water use reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets?

Natural Resources: Producing High Quality, Responsibly Sourced Raw Materials
1. Have you established publicly available sustainability purchasing guidelines for your direct suppliers that address issues such as environmental compliance, employment practices and product/ingredient safety?

2. Have you obtained 3rd party certifications for any of the products that you sell to Walmart?

People and Community: Ensuring Responsible and Ethical Production

1. Do you know the location of 100 percent of the facilities that produce your product(s)?

2. Before beginning a business relationship with a manufacturing facility, do you evaluate the quality of, and capacity for, production?

3. Do you have a process for managing social compliance at the manufacturing level?

4. Do you work with your supply base to resolve issues found during social compliance evaluations and also document specific corrections and improvements?

5. Do you invest in community development activities in the markets you source from and/or operate within?

Other Wal-Mart posts of interest.
Wal-Mart's Sustainability Index: The Greenest Thing Ever to Happen to Retail?
Wal-Mart Now US' Largest Buyer Of Locally Grown Produce
Monsanto Dumping Bovine Growth Hormone