The Global View

Walmart shift to green and ethical gold, silver and wood

WalmartA couple of pieces have emerged from that behemoth of retail, Wal-Mart.  Over the weekend Reuter’s reported that the store, which also owns Asda in the UK, will be ‘introducing a line of gold and silver jewelry that can be traced from the mine to store shelves as the retailer looks to sell more jewelry sourced from mines and manufacturers that meet its environmental and human rights standards.’

“It’s the first time ever that we, or any major mass retailer, have been able to provide customers with a way to trace the path of their product from the mine it was actually mined from to the shelf,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Tara Raddohl.

Under Chief Executive Lee Scott, Wal-Mart has set goals of one day using only renewable energy and creating zero waste, and has challenged its suppliers to follow in its footsteps.

In addition to this the store also announced this morning it will be joining the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN).  The scheme is the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) initiative to save the world’s most valuable and threatened forests.

What this means is the US retailer has committed to ‘phasing out illegal and unwanted wood sources from its supply chain.’ Why it’s using illegal wood sources is not touched on in the release and is a question that needs to be asked. The release states:

Within one year, Wal-Mart will complete an assessment of where its wood furniture is coming from and whether the wood is legal and well-managed. Once the assessment is completed, Wal-Mart has committed to eliminating wood from illegal and unknown sources within five years.

Similarly, the word unknown is slightly worrying.

The WWF’s VP for Business & Industry, Suzanne Apple commented that Walmart has answered its call to action to protect the forests and that it welcomed the move.