The Sustainability Index - Moving a retail supply chain to radical transparency

Situation: 

•90% of Wal-Mart’s environmental impacts are related to the products they sell. The Sustainability Index announced by Wal-Mart is a world-changing effort that will assess products across impact areas and drive innovation.

•The system must be credible, transparent, flexible, and work for 100,000 suppliers and hundreds of thousands of products while gaining alignment from a diverse group of stakeholders including buyers, suppliers, and NGOs

Our Role:

•Working with the Sustainable Value Networks (SVNs), weexplored the issues and developed metrics that create the foundation of the Index. (SVN members include leaders from Wal-Mart, supplier companies, academia, government, and NGOs.)

•We developed a working model and roll out plan for the Index and socialized the concept within Wal-Mart leadership, a stakeholder steering committee and key suppliers, incorporating revisions along the way to create a truly collaborative approach to the Index.

•We organized and facilitated a summit of 170 stakeholders in July of 2008 to tackle key questions about design and implementation of the Index.

•We are assisting with the strategy and management of subsequent index phases including working with multi-stakeholder (and multi-retailer) groups to develop standard metrics

Results:

•A community of 170 diverse stakeholders committed to partnering in this effort.

•The first phase of the Index launched in 2009.

•Product category pilots continue to launch, further developing the product-level metrics.