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Wal-Mart Asks Electronics Suppliers To Go Green

The retailer's Packaging Sustainability Network has set a target of 5% reduction in packaging by 2013.

In a move to capitalize on popular environmental trends, Wal-Mart Stores is asking electronics suppliers to rate the environmental-friendliness of their products.

The world's largest retailer announced Monday the criteria it will use on scorecards that suppliers will fill out next year to help Wal-Mart buyers determine which products to stock. The cards are among several environmental initiatives Wal-Mart has touted this year.

Last month CEO Lee Scott announced an initiative called Sustainability 360 that hopes to cut energy use, emissions, and waste. The retail company plans to reduce its own environmental impact while calling on suppliers, associates, communities, and customers to do the same.

In February, Wal-Mart co-hosted electronic waste "take-back days" with Hewlett-Packard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company collected more than 140,000 pounds of old electronics in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Wal-Mart is also co-sponsoring a Green Electronics Council design contest, in which the retailer will sell the winning product.

The scorecards will ask electronics suppliers to rate their products for energy efficiency, durability, package size, materials that help reduce the use of hazardous substances, the ability to upgrade, and recycling possibilities. Wal-Mart's Packaging Sustainability Network has set a target of 5% reduction in packaging by 2013.

Wal-Mart said that some suppliers have already incorporated those considerations into their products. For example, many computers and televisions comply with Reduction of Hazardous Substances standards. Some suppliers are beginning to fill out scorecards for direction and guidance on making improvements.

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