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Wal-Mart ‘to Assess Crop Sustainability’

Wal-Mart is considering using sustainability measurement devices developed by the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, reports ThePacker.com.

Wal-Mart officials have said that the retailer is looking into what types of data to collect within an expanded pilot program for measuring the sustainability of its produce, the website reports.

The website said that Wal-Mart would ask its fresh produce suppliers to complete a “Sustainable Produce Assessment” this year.

Tools developed by the SISC, including metrics on water and fertilizer use, form at least part of the proposed Wal-Mart assessment. The store is also planning to ask growers for information on waste, pesticides, refrigerants and yields, according to The Packer.

A Wal-Mart spokesman declined to comment, The Packer reports.

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2 thoughts on “Wal-Mart ‘to Assess Crop Sustainability’

  1. As appealing as the idea of sustainability metrics may be, there are some very real limitations for application to things like fruit and vegetable crops. First of all, it will take ~10 years before one can know what is good or bad because of variation from year to year. Also, many very important outcomes such as nitrous oxide emissions (the biggest GHG from ag) are impractical to measure on a farm or field basis.
    I have been a volunteer participant on three of the metric review committees for SISC for the past 2.5 years. My conclusion is now that Walmart and others could have a far more positive impact on produce sustainability by changing features of their supply agreements and produce handling/marketing to minimize the losses to decay or poor quality which often mean that 20-50% of the field inputs were wasted. See this post titled “How to Make Fresh Produce More Sustainable: Actually Eat It” http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-to-make-fresh-produce-production.html

  2. Encouraging…I can’t find profit in this concept. I see reduced costs but more importantly, this is truly sustainable steps. I look forward to seeing the next steps for WM.

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