Suppliers, Retailers, and Consumers

Consumer electronics suppliers will face growing scrutiny of their sustainability practices from retailers. But consumers need to support these efforts by evolving their behavior. Sierra Magazine reports:

"With the power of a good-size country, Wal-Mart has put the squeeze on its 60,000 suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint. Starting in 2008, the retailer will use data from suppliers to measure the impact of its entire supply chain. The incentive: Wal-Mart promises better placement in stores for products that have addressed sustainability issues."

But adds:

"One electronics company . . . was willing to package even its high-end accessories in inexpensive, highly recyclable cardboard instead of plastic "blister packs." Fearing a loss of sales if shoppers couldn't immediately see a difference between basic and premium products, Wal-Mart hammered out a compromise in which plastic packaging was reduced by two-thirds--but not totally eliminated."

Consumers have a responsibility to sent a clear message, particularly with their purchasing behavior, that they reject such superficial manipulation and understand the value of more sustainable packaging.