Walmart: Lessons learned from a commitment to packaging reduction





Ron Sasine, Senior Director of Packaging, Private Brands, Walmart — Packaging Digest, 9/18/2013 4:16:27 PM

Ron SasineRon SasineThe results are in. Last year, we reached a goal we set back in 2007—to reduce packaging in the products we sell by 5 percent by 2013. This success was an exercise in collaboration and perseverance as we worked closely with suppliers, manufacturers and distributors to find new solutions and ultimately reach our goal. 

Achieving this milestone involved a number of multi-year initiatives to eliminate unnecessary packaging components, reduce the mass of the remaining packaging materials and optimize the performance of the packaging we use in each product category. As we worked to reduce packaging, we found that our greatest successes came when we optimized packaging. This approach not only consider the volume of the material used, but the integrity, portability, recyclability, reusability and overall life cycle of the materials we use to deliver products to our shelves safely and efficiently. The result is a more holistic approach that considers the environmental and economic impact of packaging throughout our supply chain. 

When we began our effort six years ago, the first obstacle we faced was finding a standard for measuring the amount of packaging we use and developing a procedure to track it over time. There weren’t any packaging reduction metrics commonly used across the packaging or retail industries, so we collaborated with packaging manufacturers, consumer products companies and a group of government entities and NGOs to create the Walmart Packaging Scorecard, a methodology for measuring and improving the environmental impact of the packaging we use. 

Here are just a few recent results from the grocery category:
Packaged salads: We cut plastic resin by an average of 40 percent, amounting to more than 1.2 million pounds of plastic film.
Bottled sauces: We made the packaging in a line of bottled sauces 44 percent lighter, improving our shipping efficiency.
Dairy: We reduced the amount of wood fiber used in the corrugated shipping cases for a line of dairy products by 18 percent.
Processed meat: We eliminated 26 percent of the corrugated used in shipping a line of processed meats by redesigning the shape and style of box.

As a result of these efforts, we not only reached our goal, but we were able to reduce the overall greenhouse gas impact of our packaging by an average of 9.8 percent in our Walmart U.S. stores, 9.1 percent in our Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. and 16 percent in our Walmart Canada stores. Our achievements in this area demonstrate the power of collaboration and the power of sustainability as a driver of innovation and business improvement. It’s at the heart of who we are and part of our mission to deliver everyday low prices to our customers.

With the new focus on optimization, we’ve created a framework for driving progress that can positively impact the business, cut costs, reduce waste and ensure product integrity through the entire product lifecycle—from transport to store shelves to customers’ homes.

But it doesn’t stop there. The next step in this process is the rollout of our Sustainability Index. Now being used in select categories, this index helps us evaluate packaging as one piece of the bigger puzzle of product sustainability. The index will help us keep a spotlight on those categories where packaging has been identified as an area of key environmental and market concern. At the same time, it will allow us to raise the visibility of other issues impacting supply chain sustainability and apply our size and scale to find broader solutions.

To learn more about Walmart’s global sustainability efforts, visit The Green Room.







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Business Brands

Business Brands

Brand assets and touch points are like words in a sentence. By themselves they might have their own independent meaning, but when combined they add up to convey a larger meaning and message or voice. Everything a brand says or does has an impact on a brand’s voice.

Historically brands and the business they represent were viewed by the general public simply as a business, with basic economic and strategic issues to deal with. However, right now we are witnessing a shift in the way consumers think about brands. Consumers are now seeing brands more as living, breathing entities with personalities and voices all their own. As a result, brands are being asked to act more like good citizens and have an overall net positive impact on the world or at the very least to limit their negative impact.

It wasn’t that long ago that the majority of consumers had no clue about a product’s life cycle. They didn’t know or care where their food came from. They had no idea what a brand’s policy on energy was or if it was “green.” Consumers didn’t think about human rights issues in the factories of the developing world.

Fast forward a decade or two. Thanks to the Internet and its 24/7 fact-sharing availability, consumers are much more informed about all facets of the way brands do business—and they have learned to care. As for brands, it’s not just about earning a merit badge and sleeping well at night. Being responsible and working in a sustainable manner is seen as an aid to business growth and attracting top talent.

Managed brand assets such as ads, packaging, websites, etc. communicate your message to the consumer. As such, they need to help reinforce a brand’s citizenship initiatives. When the consumer knows more about the good work your brand is doing in the world, brands improve the chance that consumers will select your brand over a competitor. But they need to hear it in your voice.

Design Forum addressed retail’s growing complexity as the first company to integrate analytics-based brand strategy into its business model.

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The Function of Packaging

The Function of Packaging

The package is to contain and protect goods, from raw materials to finished products, to enable handling and delivery from producer to consumer or user, and to ensure their submission. Following its use, the package is qualified sales packages, collecting, or transportation.

The great diversity of usage that the package may take various forms ,such as sheet, bag, box, box, barrel, bottle, etc..And be made from paper, cardboard, plastics, wood, glass or metal. It is complete with appropriate accessories ,such as accessory assembly, sealing, gripping, protection, etc.

The industry is the packaging industry with a production of about 12 million tonnes. The materials represent a turnover of around 17 billion euros, 35% for paper and paperboard, 26% for plastics, followed by the wood, glass, complex flexible and metal ,for example, tin and aluminum.

Packaging, its functions, is an essential partner for all industrial sectors. The first user sector is packaging the food industry which consumes over 60% of packaging products, followed by pharmaceutical, cosmetics and perfumery, followed by detergents, cleaning products, chemistry, manufacturing and distribution.

The packaging, both protectors of content, guarantee security, functionality, first contact with the user or consumer, messengers of the product to the user, brand ambassadors, must meet a number of functions , both technical and marketing.

In a context where economic, safety, ergonomics, and environmental regulations are especially important in developing new packaging and its definition requires a specific methodology that integrates all aspects of the life cycle of the packaging, taking into account the Couple packaging / product and multidisciplinary collaboration involving real partners.

The proposed methodology comprises three phases:

Functional needs analysis leading to the development of functional specifications ;
The proposal of potential solutions, their validation and the choice of a packaging solution;
Description and characterization of the solution, then the development of specifications for purchase.

The packages are subject to standards, regulations and certification systems. The standardization work is mainly carried out at European level in the framework of the Technical Committee 261 – Packaging, but other committees addressing issues affecting packaging.

Protecting the environment has become a major concern it is now necessary to incorporate into the design of a package: it is called ecodesign. On the issue of packaging and packaging waste, Directive government sets essential requirements that packaging must meet.

Chineeren is an editor of, and Rensino Packaging Co., Ltd is a company committed to the development provides high quality and lower price of packaging printing for all over the world.

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2010 San Diego Comic-Con is just about here, and we’ve got another little teaser to share with you this year. Check out the detail on the Starro Packaging! It has lights and features the voice of Kevin Conroy, TV’s animated Batman.
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Container Flower Gardening – Understanding The Advantages Of Container Flower Gardening

Container Flower Gardening – Understanding The Advantages Of Container Flower Gardening

In case you do not have adequate space for a decent outdoor garden, there is no need to lose sleep. More and more people are being lured by the container flower gardening process and you too, can join this trend.

Moreover, this kind of gardening is not the sole domain of the upwardly mobile city dwellers. In fact, even people having extensive outdoor gardens, wish to make elegant their interiors with the use of attractive shades and scents and most gardeners set off their open-air garden with an al fresco container garden, either to beautify the area or to thwart some charming, but undesirable, plants that tend to damage and overrun their garden associates. Now, container gardens are a means to grow plants inside your home since the external environment is not conducive to their growth.

In addition, container flower gardening gives you the benefit of keeping a fresh and vibrant flower arrangement throughout the gardening season. When a specific plant variety is in bloom, you can smugly exhibit it in its attractive container in all its glory; and once the flowers begin to fade, you can carry off the container and put back another flower holder, brimming with plants in bud.

The container flower gardening technique is just right to manage perennials that have to last their life cycle, from blossoming to fading away and repeating the process all over again. Cheerfully place them prominently shown when in season, but take them away and put them in a remote corner when they are through with their flowering season. When they revive and brighten up, they take center stage once again! In this fashion, it is possible for you to make over your garden whenever you feel like it.

Customarily, the best selection of containers to be used for container flower gardening are wooden drum, planter boxes, flowerpots, and hanging baskets.

However, there is no firm and fast rule regarding the need to tread the traditional path; you can give free rein to your imagination! In fact, gardeners have availed of plastic milk pitchers, transparent plastic bottles, or milk cartons, making perforations in them for drainage and bedecking them with wrapping paper, foil, or any other multihued object. Buckets manufactured from any material, can be utilized, as also baskets and strong fabrics such as canvas or denim (which need to be lined).

Another possibility is to line the base of cookie jars with small stones and wire net to ensure proper drainage and these can be used as containers, and you can cover the wire net with peat moss in order to create a hanging container for plants. There are people who have also employed abandoned bathtubs!

Basically you can draw on almost anything to be utilized as a planter in container gardening. However, you need to address the requirements of plants, which make this container, their dwelling place. Every container should be fitted with drainage holes.

In addition, you should find out how deep the roots of a specific plant tend to grow, as well as the manner in which they grow and select a most suitable container. For instance, the roots of a strawberry plant do not go very deep and they do not require big containers, but since their roots tend to spread out, they require a wide container.

Ensure your container can suitably handle the problem of expanding ice-covered soil in case you reside in cold clime. If you are considering planting a sizeable, heavy flower, in a container to be set outdoors, ensure the container is heavily built so that it is not turned over by a strong breeze.

Also give due consideration to the materials used and the colors displayed in a container, and what they so indicate. Now, darkly shaded containers take in considerable heat and this may result in the soil becoming parched. It is preferable that you grow plants in containers with pale colors, or else keenly observe the water needs of any plant kept in a darkly colored container.

Abhishek is a self-confessed Gardening addict! Visit his website http://www. and download his FREE Gardening Report “Indoor Gardening Secrets” and learn some amazing Gardening tips for FREE! Create the perfect Garden on a shoe-string budget. And yes, you get to keep all the accolades! But hurry, only limited Free copies available!. http://www.

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Greening the Supply Chain

Greening the Supply Chain



At present, the business all over the world is threatened by globalization of markets, short product life cycles, need of lower costs and ever increasing demands of the customer. Environmental consciousness has been increasing in the last few decades. More people have knowledge of environment problems like global warming, decreasing in non-replenish resources and usages of toxic substance. The government has started campaigns to promote these problems to people. Several organizations have applied green principles to their operations such as reduction in usage of petroleum, using the recycle papers for packaging and environmental friendly raw material. They extended green principles to many departments within the organization including supply chain.


Green supply chain management (GSCM) covers every stage in manufacturing from the first to last stage of life cycle, i.e., from the product design to recycle. The organizations need to follow regional, national and international laws while satisfying customer requirement. The environmental issues no longer stop at the company boundary but are necessarily boundary crossing concerns. These issues cross boundaries from company to customers, suppliers, competitors, the community and the environment itself. Different countries in Europe and North America are promoting industry induced pollution alleviation by requiring manufactures to practice green reverse logistics in recycling the used-products. In this way, GSCM has emerged as a proactive approach for improving environmental performance of processes and products in accordance with the environmental regulation. GSCM is important to the company in different levels and factors. These factors are different drives such as government, whole market, industry, competitors and within the company.


Even though GSCM was introduced recently, there are number of empirical studies about it.

§  Kleindorfer, singhas and vam wassenhove(2005) carried out research on sustainability including integrating environmental management, green product design and closed- loop supply chains.

§  Trowbridge (2006) studied environmental practices of advanced micro devices (AMD) and their ability for greening the supply chain. Torunick (2006) discussed the importance of the logistic companies being more concerned on the GSCM.

§  Srivastava(2007) conducted empirical studies related to green and sustainability supply chain.

§  Tohamy (2008) stated that greening the supply chain must be founded on coherent strategies that examine the trade offs between environmental initiatives, profitability and efficiency across the integrated supply chain.


Government, market and competitors and company itself are the three drives that drive company to adopt green supply chain management.


A large number of government agencies controlling guideline regulation and law are in the United States. These agencies are responsible for different issues such as pollution, product material and chemical waste. One example of Government agency is “Environmental protection Agency” which is established to protect human health and the environment. Not only manufactures but also suppliers, distributors and even customers do get great impact from this agency.


The competition among companies is very high in today’s business world. The company needs to differentiate from others to get customer’s impression. Being environmental friendly is one way to do it. The company gets a pressure when the competitors already adopted GSCM. So, it is a good idea to implement GSCM even though the competitors have not adopted it.


Sometimes the company itself becomes a driver for implementing GSCM. Number of studies showed that adopting GSCM can reduce the cost. Other advantages of GSCM are increase efficiency, eliminate waste and pollution and generate brand reputation. Dubber-Smith(2005) mentioned that employee morale will be enhanced from some green programs such as wellness programs, ergonomic work environment.


Going green requires changes of organizational culture  and a long term perspective. The company can apply green by using several methods in manufacturing process. Reuse and recycling are referred here. Other departments in an organization are also involved with the green. Purchasing can become important player regarding environment initiatives in the supply chain. ( Preuss, 2001)


GSCM is an emerging issue for most of the Indian corporations. The companies must be made aware of relationships of supply chain management to the natural environment. Green business practices are becoming vital component of business organization. The findings indicate that supply chain management is the key area for which green practices to be applied. Top management commitment and employee involvement are prerequisite for GSCM.



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Environmentally Responsible Packaging – is it possible?

Environmentally Responsible Packaging – is it possible?

Environmentally-Responsible Packaging – Is This Possible?

Are you looking for the right material to package your product at the lowest possible cost to the environment? Metal tins could be the answer – and they offer innovative, effective branding for your product, too. This article explores issues surrounding the challenge of balancing successful product packaging with environmentally responsible materials, and the benefits of using materials such as tin in this process.

Whether we consider multi-media packaging, food containers or giftware packaging, it’s immediately clear that products are frequently packaged using materials such as plastic or cardboard. Getting the design and manufacture of product packaging right is often integral to the success of a product in the consumer market.  However, the pressure to achieve this whilst using a material that is environmentally responsible, recyclable and reusable has increased, in the last ten years particularly with the ‘green consumerism’ boom.  Many products in the UK are packaged in plastic or Tetra-Pak, which are very difficult to recycle because of their mixed components and chemical composition; Waste Watch, the environmental charity, has called for companies to consider moving away from these packaging choices due to their detrimental impact on the environment.

In the sustainability-focused manufacturing centres of the 21st century, the entire ‘footprint’ of product packaging is now considered for its environmental impact, including:

the life-cycle of the packaging
recyclability of the packaging
reusability of the packaging
the overall impact of the product on the environment.

So what packaging materials are the most environmentally friendly, all things considered?

The most cost-efficient, environmentally responsible and effective materials to use in product packaging are primary products, according to Waste Watch. Primary products such as metals are highly recyclable and reusable due to their intrinsic chemical properties as well as their economic value, and this reuse can take place with little or no loss of quality.  The Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association in the UK notes that metal is the most easily sorted material at waste centres; and cheaply and effectively recycled into new products. In the UK, over 57% of cans are recycled; and tin and metal itself is 100% recyclable.

Tin packaging, therefore, offers an ideal solution for the manufacturer who is conscious of their responsibility to reduce waste, without wanting to compromise on appearance or functionality. Metal packaging is not only highly protective but gives products extra prestige and an ‘edge’, tins not only look special on the shelf, but metal packaged products often command a higher price. Tin boxes, particularly bespoke promotional tins, enhance brand value, whilst ensuring the environmental footprint of the product’s packaging is kept to a minimum.

Confectionary tins and cosmetic tins are examples of how tin can be used to enhance and add value to a product’s utility and appearance. Metal tins, since they are attractive, are much more likely to be kept and re-used, thereby reducing the waste which packaging would otherwise create. This means the brand image on the metal tin will also gain much more exposure for your product. Tin boxes are also a sound packaging solution for a wide range of food products including coffee, tea and cake, because of their durability, and their robustness. Metal packaging makes a product stand out and is environmentally responsible and extremely versatile.

The use of metal cases or tin containers in packaging a product can be successful in both design and manufacturing terms while also satisfying the growing demand for the use of environmentally responsible materials when it comes to the crucial marketing process of product packaging. So when you’re thinking about the packaging of your product, consider the life-cycle of the packaging; the sustainable and quality choice for packaging your product may well be metal.




Rob Christmas has been working in the tinplate industry for over 30 years and is now Managing Director of Tinplate Products Ltd. Founded in 1990, Tinplate Products is a UK company specialising in the production, design and delivery of tin packaging. The company is now recognized as the market leader for DVD, CD and other multi-media packaging in metal. Their innovative designs have won multiple industry awards.

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Green Your Supply Chain: 7 Questions and 7 Tips

Green Your Supply Chain: 7 Questions and 7 Tips

7 Questions to Ask When Considering Purchasing a Product or Material for Your Business:

1. Apply life-cycle thinking. This includes:

     a. Does the product contain toxic materials?
     b. Where do the raw materials come from and where is the product manufactured?
     c. How much energy is used to extract and ship components or parts of a product?
     d. How much energy, water and resources are used to create and package the product?
     e. How can it be disposed of or recycled at the end of its useful life?
     f. Are there any environmental or health impacts of its use?

2. Do you even need to purchase the product new? Sometimes a used item is just as good.

3. Exactly how much of it do you need? Don’t buy more than you need; this wastes money and resources.

4. What type of packaging does it come with? Environmentally-conscious companies are doing all sorts of creative things to green their packaging. This addresses the materials that packaging is made from, as well as the amount of it.

5. Is the product well-designed for its intended purpose? Often, cheaply made goods fall apart and are thrown away within 3 months of purchase.

6. Does the use of this product require special ventilation? If so, don’t buy it! There are plenty of alternatives for low- and no-VOC cleaning products, paints, and adhesives.

7. Depending on how far you want to take it, ask about labor practices. Does the manufacturer pay a living wage, do they give their employees benefits, do they have a diverse workforce? Do they contribute to their community? The social aspects of sustainability / green are sometimes overlooked, but have huge potential payoffs.

7 Tips:

1. Look for locally-produced and sourced products. This helps support your local economy, and reduces transportation-related environmental costs.

2. Look for materials that are any or all of these: non-toxic, biodegradable, renewable, recycled, recyclable, durable, reusable.

3. Look for equipment that is, at minimum, Energy Star rated (a program of the EPA). Buying energy efficient equipment is one of the best ways to green your supply chain, because it saves you money.

4. Even if something costs more in the first place, analyze whether its operating or in-service cost is lower than a cheaper alternative. This is often the case, because more durable, reliable equipment generally costs a little more.

5. For whatever you buy, there is probably a guide to finding environmentally preferable products. For example, The EPA and Stop Waste both have reliable information.

6. Green Seal is a reputable organization that certifies certain products, such as office products, cleaning products, construction materials, and food service products.

7. When considering something like recycled paper that may cost more, look at the big picture. Do you print on both sides of the paper? Setting your printers to do this can save a tremendous amount of paper and money.

Source for a few of the points:
The Truth About Green Business ,” by Gil Friend (Questions: #1 (pg 86), #2 (p 123); Tips: #3 (pg. 124))

Founder and Publisher Julie E. Gabrielli is an award-winning architect who was instrumental in starting the sustainable design movement in Baltimore over ten years ago.

My expertise is as an industry-changer, and I have also worked with institutions to develop sustainability initiatives. I now work with small business owners to take their business in a green direction, starting with clear framework and vision, identifying new markets, crafting a green brand and message, developing new products, assessing and reducing their footprint, and giving back.

Julie E. Gabrielli, NCARB, LEED


Get GOforChange’s complimentary Special Report: “4 Success Secrets of Becoming Green-Blooded.”

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The ‘sustainability’ buzzword is appealing, but not always something easy for companies to incorporate. What if one isn’t able to purchase ‘green’ power from their provider, or simply can’t utilize non-petrol based raw materials? Well, corporations need to be able to do the best they can to make their products and processes more environmentally friendly. One of the most productive things consumer goods processors can do is reduce their overall packaging materials because once the goods are sold, the end-of-life scenario is in the hands of the consumer. Whether it’s recycled or thrown away, the sheer quantity of material matters, so packaging reduction is a very effective way of making a difference in this green movement.

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