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Thursday, 13 August 2020
Walmart States a Formal Preference for FSC

As the world’s biggest retailer several years running, Walmart’s decisions about which products to sell cause huge ripples in the marketplace.

On July 8, 2020, Walmart announced it was strengthening its sustainable sourcing requirements for products containing paper and pulp in its Stationery departments across its 4,750 US stores. Most significantly, the company publicly stated its preference for FSC certification.

“Though the move to more sustainably sourced paper means additional requirements for buyers and suppliers, it’s a change we’re willing to make because it promotes forest health and preservation of forest resources into the future,” wrote Chastity Prince, Senior Buyer at Walmart.

In the announcement, Linda Walker, Senior Director, Forests at WWF and board member of Forest Stewardship Council US, noted that “purchasing paper products made with fiber from responsibly managed forests or recycled fiber is an important action that consumers can take” to conserve and protect forests.

The move is part of Walmart’s ongoing commitment to creating higher demand for net zero deforestation products, as captured in its Deforestation Policy. Achieving net zero deforestation is one of the company’s three key strategies identified in its 2018 Global Responsibility Report, along with reducing carbon emissions and eliminating waste.

While Walmart recognizes a variety of forest certifications, it only states a preference for FSC, “especially in high priority countries,” which includes products from Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Thailand and Columbia. Walmart also states a goal to increase the use of recycled content.

According to Walmart’s “Standards for Suppliers,” the preference policy applies to “anyone that supplies products to Walmart for resale.”

The updated policy influences Walmart’s decisions about which products to sell to consumers - it is reasonable to assume that with this announcement, when deciding between two similar products, FSC-certified suppliers and products will enjoy a competitive edge.

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