Wal-Mart Canada Aim for 5% Packaging Cuts

Wal-Mart Canada (Mississauga, On.) is hosting a sustainable packaging exposition, June 21, the first of its kind in Canada, to support its goal to reduce the packaging on products sold in Wal-Mart stores by five per cent by 2013. The Toronto event, held in partnership with the Packaging Association of Canada, will host more than 100 Wal-Mart suppliers, and will include product buyers from Wal-Mart Canada's home office.

Wal-Mart Canada will introduce its new Packaging Scorecard program, which will assess suppliers' products on the basis of the sustainability of their packaging.

"Making smarter, sustainable packaging choices is one of the best ways Wal-Mart and our suppliers can make positive environmental change," said Guy McGuffin, vice president and sustainable packaging network leader. "Through better education and stricter standards, we will make sustainable packaging a key component of the decision process when we are selecting products to put on our shelves."

Entitled "Cradle to Cradle," the sustainable packaging exposition, managed by the Packaging Association of Canada, will educate Wal-Mart Canada's internal team of product buyers and external suppliers - representing some of the world's biggest consumer packaged goods companies - on new materials, technologies and alternatives for traditional packaging. More than 65 exhibitors will demonstrate everything from renewable raw materials to sustainable package design.

"Ultimately, we want to help businesses eager to adopt a packaging model whereby materials are used wisely and perpetually or returned to the earth without negative effect," said James Downham, president and CEO of the Packaging Association of Canada. "The packaging industry is working diligently to meet the greener standards of businesses and consumers, making viable sustainable alternatives available today."

The move to sustainable packaging among product manufacturers and retailers will focus on reducing the overall eco-footprint required to make, transport and dispose of product packages. Examples of considerations for Wal-Mart Canada's Packaging Scorecard, which will be initiated by year's end, include whether companies are generating greenhouse gas emissions or using renewable energy to create packaging; whether materials used for packaging can be reduced, or eliminated; and, when materials are necessary, whether those materials have residual value and programs available to encourage recycling.

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