What you measure gets managed. That is what Wal-Mart is doing with their plan. Check out the 15 questions (PDF) it is asking suppliers.
As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores is on a mission to determine the social and environmental impact of every item it puts on its shelves. And it has recruited scholars, suppliers, and environmental groups to help it create an electronic indexing system to do that.
The idea is to create a universal rating system that scores products based on how environmentally and socially sustainable they are over the course of their lives. Consider it the green equivalent to nutrition labels.
Rather than a retailer or a product supplier’s focusing on only a few sustainability goals — lower emissions or water conservation or waste reduction — the index would help them take a broader view of sustainability by scrutinizing and rating all sorts of environmental and social implications.
Did this T-shirt come from a cotton crop that was sprayed with pesticide? Was excessive packaging used to ship these diapers?
Wal-Mart’s goal is to have other retailers eventually adopt the indexing system, which will be created over the next five years.