Wal-Mart will host a Sustainability Milestone Meeting this morning (July 16th) 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. (CDT) in Bentonville, Ark. Follow the conversation on how Wal-Mart is working to launch a new project that will develop a sustainability index for their products. The meeting will be webcast live, and available for streaming following the meeting. You can also follow the meeting on Twitter via @Walmartmeeting.
As reported yesterday by Sarah Harper, the proposed index is controversial. There are many unanswered questions. Who will define what green is? How will the information gathered be shared?
Despite the concerns, there is no doubt that the average shopper could benefit from one cohesive environmental labeling system, helping them make greener choices when it comes to what to put in the shopping cart.
And Wal-Mart is big enough to gain access to information that is difficult for smaller companies to obtain. However, as Scot Case, Vice President of TerraChoice Group, Inc., points out, “Life Cycle Asessment (LCA) is important and a necessary part of the solution, but it is not the holy grail. LCA is not useful until you have the right context for standardizing and analyzing the data.”
He also stresses that it is critical that any new ecolabel be developed in an open, public and transparent process. So far, he believes the new Sustainability Consortium is moving in a productive direction.
Stay tuned to see what is next for this new coalition.
Deborah Fleischer is the founder and president of Green Impact, providing strategic environmental consulting services to mid-sized companies and NGOs who want to launch a new green initiative or cross-sector collaboration, but lack the in-house capacity to get it up and running. She brings expertise in sustainability strategy, program development, stakeholder partnerships and written communications. And you can follow her occasional tweet at GreenImpact.