GreenWERCS case study: Walmart

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Courtesy of UL The WERCS

The Situation

One of Walmart’s goals as a company is to sell products that sustain people and the environment. Walmart sells a diverse line of chemical products, ranging from motor oil to laundry detergent. Walmart’s challenge is to take a closer look into these products and find ways to continuously improve the chemistry of the product while keeping cost and efficacy in mind. Walmart needed a way to look at the ingredients of a product that kept the suppliers’ chemical formulations safe, while still assessing detailed information.

The Solution

To answer their need for chemical formulation analysis, Walmart began using GreenWERCS in 2006. GreenWERCS is an automated tool designed to determine the “green”-ness of chemical-based products. The tool enabled the collection of formulation data from suppliers and provided Walmart with regulatory information. In 2008, GreenWERCS was chosen to begin analysis of another kind, comparing the ingredients of a product against a group of chemical lists that were chosen by Walmart’s stakeholder group, the Chemical Intensive Products Network. Leveraging the information already gathered by GreenWERCS, Walmart could see results from the lists of CMRs and PBTs chosen, and a numerical score was derived.

With GreenWERCS as a resource, Walmart had immediate access to the scoring of over 400,000 UPCs. Initially, Walmart struggled to explain the wealth of information collected or provide clear direction and goals on these products to merchandise teams. The company had originally envisioned the buyers directly accessing the tool and having conversations with suppliers about the future of these products. However, it became quite clear that such a powerful tool needed to be used correctly, and if left in the hands of the wrong person, results could be misinterpreted.

Greener. Safer. Better.

In 2009, GreenWERCS became available for suppliers to utilize. Now, suppliers are able to see their products, and some action has been taken on their part to correct incorrect information and improve ingredients, both improving overall results. The GreenWERCS tool has become a cornerstone for assessing chemical product sustainability, and will be used alongside other important sustainability attributes for a broader, stronger Sustainability Index.

Who is Walmart?

  • Founded in 1962
  • One of the largest providers of general merchandise and groceries in the world
  • Over $400 billion in fiscal sales
  • More than 2 million employees in 28 countries

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