NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said on Monday that, starting next year, it will ask its electronics suppliers to evaluate the environmental impact of their products, and it will use the assessment to determine which merchandise to sell in its stores.
The world’s largest retailer said suppliers will be asked to fill out a scorecard evaluating their electronics based on criteria such as energy efficiency, durability and the size of the package containing the product. Wal-Mart buyers can then use the scorecard results to make purchasing decisions.
The scorecard is the latest effort by the retailer to push its suppliers to follow its environmental initiatives.
Wal-Mart has vowed to cut energy usage and reduce waste at its stores, and earlier this year, Chief Executive Lee Scott unveiled a new environmental plan challenging employees, suppliers and customers to remove nonrenewable energy from their lives.
With more than 127 million customers visiting a Wal-Mart store or a Sam’s Club location in America every week, the company is considered one of few able to make direct changes to global energy consumption.
While the efforts may help the environment, they are also seen as a way for Wal-Mart to cut costs as profit margins at its U.S. stores have narrowed.
For instance, Wal-Mart has asked its suppliers to cut the amount of packaging used in products sold through Wal-Mart by 5 percent by 2013. The move is expected to save the retailer $3.4 billion over the five years.
Wal-Mart shares closed down 16 cents at $47.26 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.