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10.14.2010

Wal-Mart to Buy More Local Produce

Source: NY Times, Oct 14, 2010

Wal-Mart Stores announced a program on Thursday that would focus on sustainable agriculture among its suppliers, as it tries to expand its efforts to improve environmental efficiency among its suppliers.

The program is intended to put more locally grown food in Wal-Mart stores in the United States, invest in training and infrastructure for small and medium-size farmers, particularly in emerging markets, and begin to measure the efficiency of large suppliers in growing and getting their produce to market.

Given that Wal-Mart is the world’s largest grocer, with one of the biggest supply chains, any changes that it makes would have wide implications. Wal-Mart’s decision five years ago to set sustainability goals that, among other things, increased its reliance on renewable energy and reduced packaging waste among its supplies, sent broad ripples through product manufacturers. Large companies like Procter & Gamble redesigned packages that are now carried by other retailers, while Wal-Mart’s measurements of environmental efficiency among its suppliers helped define how they needed to change.

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