How to win a Walmart supplier contract is dramatically changing. The following exclusive interview with Jeff Rice, Director of Sustainability for Walmart profiles how Walmart’s adoption of sustainability is creating new opportunities for suppliers that can be competitive on price, product quality, delivery and now…sustainability.
Three Keys To Being A Successful Green Supplier:
Three key steps for winning competitive advantage in Walmart’s sustainability scorecard system of competitively ranking suppliers are:
Measure/Report On Environmental Footprint
Walmart wants their suppliers to measure and report their environmental footprint for the company and product. This reporting should also include the supply chain of the Walmart supplier because Walmart is finding that often it is the supplier to a Walmart supplier that actually has the largest emissions streams.
The Sustainability Consortium is the top place to begin in developing a supplier environmental footprint. The Sustainability Consortium is an organization that Walmart belongs to and actively participates in. The Consortium provides a common platform of science and knowledge across 150 products in nine categories. They are now rolling out tools for measuring environmental footprints that align with the tools used by Walmart.
In Walmart a hotspot is an opportunity that offers the most bang for the buck. Focusing upon hotspots is one of Walmart’s best practices management tools. As a potential supplier to Walmart a company should identify their environmental impact hotspots and have a plan for addressing them. Hotspot examples could be the amount and type of product packaging, the energy consumption of the largest supplier in a supplier’s supply chain or the environmental footprint of a product used by Walmart customers.
The key to being a Walmart supplier is to recognize that one of Walmart’s core strategies is to continuously improve upon their operations, products, costs and prices. It is part of their DNA to expect of themselves and their suppliers that performance will be better tomorrow. This is also how Walmart is implementing its sustainability program. Walmart’s goal is to continuously improve the sustainability of their operations, product offerings and supply chain. The expect all of their products and suppliers to be more sustainable. A supplier that mirrors Walmart’s approach by having in place a continuous improvement process for increasing the sustainability of the company and products has taken a huge step toward aligning with Walmart’s sustainability procurement expectations.
Exclusive Interview: Jeff Rice, Director of Sustainability For Walmart
The following video interview with Jeff Rice conducted at the Sustainable Brands 2012 conference is a “must watch” if your company is seeking to win or retain a Walmart supplier contract. The key best practices that Jeff outlines in this video are now being implemented. For example, Walmart’s electronics buyers discovered through Walmart’s sustainability analysis process that only 30% of the computers she purchased had advanced settings to put a computer in “sleep mode” when it was not being used. She has now shifted her computer order to where 100% of the laptops she buys have advanced “sleep mode” settings pre-installed by the manufacturer. This shift in computer procurement standards is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by hundreds of thousands of metric tons plus save customers on their electric bills. Now imagine being the computer vendor who could not meet this more sustainable buying criterion and imagine the opportunity for the manufacturer who could. That is an example of the future in supplier selection by Walmart where they will be searching for vendors that offer value along with sustainable solutions.
Bill Roth is the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues.