We’re less than a day away from starting the Walmart and Sam’s Club Sustainable Packaging Exposition and Value Network Conference, the seventh time the packaging industry has come together with us to discuss sustainability and how we can work together across the supply chain. I’ve attended each year, four times as a packaging supplier and three times as a Walmart associate, and I’ve learned a lot about communicating from both sides.
I’m often asked by Walmart associates, suppliers and materials manufacturers whether our packaging sustainability efforts are actually generating meaningful results. Each of these groups have different perspectives and aspirations behind this question, but after taking stock of what our suppliers have accomplished this past year, I can answer with a definitive “yes.”
The real success of our efforts can be measured by whether we are able to meet our customers’ demand for products in ways that require fewer resources and less energy, promote recycling and foster efficient use of scarce materials. On every measure, the achievements of the past year light up the scoreboard. Breakfast cereals in more efficient cartons, smaller shipper cases for imported footwear and resource-efficient lunch meat packaging are all examples of doing better with less, and every one of these projects helps drive our business.
I’m particularly excited about this year’s expo because it comes at a time when our company’s leadership is reinvigorating and expanding our sustainability efforts. Soon, every buyer in our U.S. business will have sustainability goals. These goals will require buyers and suppliers to work together to identify, prioritize and execute projects that will drive additional efficiency improvements and cost savings.
If you have ideas, suggestions or even criticisms, let me know. I can’t promise we’ll get it all right the first time, but we’re always looking at new ways to improve.