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Wal-Mart wants ‘green’ from China

Ashley Milne-Tyte Apr 10, 2008

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: China’s under pressure again, but this time not by other governments or protesters. Nope, this time it’s Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart says it wants its Chinese suppliers to go green. So the mega retailer is planning to get roughly a thousand of those suppliers together later this year. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: Wal-Mart accounts for 30% of all foreign buying in China. Andrew Hutson is with Environmental Defense. The group is working with Wal-Mart on greening its supply chain. He says it’s too early to tell what Wal-Mart will ask of its Chinese suppliers, but…

Andrew Hutson: We think as an organization that any effective program is gonna require greater transparency in the supply chain, meaning just knowing where your products come from and who’s making them, and what the processes are and what goes into them.

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That may sound basic, but Ted Fishman, author of China, Inc., says it’s not when you consider what goes into making just one Wal-Mart product.

Ted Fishman: Not only does Wal-Mart have the thousand suppliers it’s meeting with but it has the suppliers to those suppliers. So, if you take a common product like a cell phone, there are 200 suppliers that make the pieces for a cell phone.

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Fishman says if Wal-Mart can get suppliers to pollute less that could help shape Chinese national environmental standards too.

In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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