16 January 2009 | Jake Kanter
Wal-Mart has launched a project to help its small suppliers become more environmentally friendly and to make its supply chain more sustainable.
The world's largest retailer will partner with sustainable development organisation the World Environment Centre (WEC) to give 24 vendors in El Salvador and Guatemala advice about how to make production cleaner and more energy efficient.
The WEC will work with suppliers to reduce water and energy consumption, cut emissions and implement environmental management systems. The project will be overseen from the WEC's office in El Salvador.
Craig Herkert, chief executive for the Americas, Wal-Mart Stores, hopes the programme will contribute to making the company's supply chain more sustainable.
And Terry Yosie, chief executive of the WEC, said: "Our partnership with Wal-Mart will play a crucial role in promoting sustainable economic development in the local communities where these suppliers operate."
The not-for-profit group is also working with Holden, an Australian subsidiary of US-based General Motors, to promote sustainable development among the firm's vendors and in Australia's automotive supply chain (News, 24 April 2008).
The move follows Wal-Mart's new supplier agreement, which will require factories to comply with environmental and social standards in the countries in which they operate (News, 30 October 2008).