Bentonville, too big to fail the environment

Walmart MtgAt a meeting today at 9:00AM CDT, Walmart is hosting what is called a Sustainability Milestone Meeting. The CEO Michael T. Duke, is apparently announcing a major new initiative, the creation of a universal rating system that scores products based on how environmentally and socially sustainable they are over the course of their lives.

Click on this link and you can watch the webcast.

As the New York Times article today says, “Consider it the green equivalent to nutrition labels.”

I suspect they alone are in a unique position to get this done. We are talking about the world’s largest retailer, and for most of my clients their largest customer by far. “Nobody else could pull this off,” said Michelle Harvey at Environmental Defense Fund, one of the groups involved in the creation of the index.

While I give Walmart a ton of credit for getting this started, I would challenge other major retailers to get on board and support the effort. My guess is that in this case the more voices in the development process the better. Those of us responsible for designing the packages that will support this program, will watch with deep interest.

No doubt there will be some serious tactical questions on the actual application of this rating system, I wonder for instance if this isn’t better applied to a shelf sticker or other in-store merchandizing system rather than the primary package itself, but I suspect that consumers will eventually find this a vital piece of information for an informed purchase decision.


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
This entry was posted in Design Criticism, Design Practice, Environmental Packaging and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bentonville, too big to fail the environment

  1. Pingback: Our Top 10 List of Packaging Stories for 2009 « The Package Unseen

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