Wal-Mart To Sell Only Concentrated Products In Liquid Laundry Detergent Category By May 2008
95 million pounds of plastic and 125 million pounds of cardboard
New York, N.Y., September 26, 2007 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced its plans to sell only concentrated products in the liquid laundry detergent category in its U.S. Wal-Mart Stores and Sam’s Clubs. The commitment was made at the Clinton Global Initiative by Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The company’s goal is to be a catalyst for the transformation of the entire liquid laundry detergent category across the retail industry and save vast amounts of natural resources.
“People expect businesses to step up and work together to help solve the big challenges facing the world,” Scott told the crowd of approximately one thousand people gathered in New York City. “What we have done is work with suppliers to take water – one of our most precious natural resources -- out of the liquid laundry detergent on our shelves. We simply don’t want our customers to have to choose between a product they can afford and an environmentally friendly product.”
Wal-Mart expects to sell only concentrated detergent in all of its U.S. stores by early May 2008 -- more than 800 million units over the next three years. The transition will occur in waves beginning in the Southern region in October, extending to the North and Midwest by February and finishing in East coast states in April 2008.
The commitment will save more than 400 million gallons of water, more than 95 million pounds of plastic resin and more than 125 million pounds of cardboard. For water alone, this is the equivalent of 100 million individual showers. Since approximately 25 percent of the liquid laundry detergent sold in the United States is sold through Wal-Mart stores, the potential savings in natural resources through the entire retail industry could be four times as much.
The technology to concentrate liquid detergent has been available for more than a decade, but was little used due to lack of interest in commercialization. Partnering closely with its suppliers, Wal-Mart made the decision to offer only concentrated detergent, and leading manufacturers began transforming their facilities to accommodate this request, leaving less capacity for old-fashioned detergents with high water content. This encouraged other retailers to move toward selling only the concentrated version of liquid detergents.
In 2005, Wal-Mart initiated a partnership with Unilever to dramatically reduce the packaging of its “all®” detergent. In February 2006, Unilever unveiled “all® small-and-mighty,” which is three-times concentrated, and contains enough detergent to wash the same 32 loads as a 100-oz. bottle. Wal-Mart helped bring the product to market by promising equal or greater shelf space despite the smaller product size.
The success of this partnership led Wal-Mart to work with suppliers throughout the laundry detergent industry, including P&G, Unilever, Dial, Huish, and Church & Dwight, to offer their own concentrated laundry detergents. Wal-Mart will continue to work together with these suppliers to ensure customer acceptance and promote the benefits of concentrated detergent.
Wal-Mart will bolster its commitment with a number of marketing and education efforts, including:
• providing interactive displays at select Wal-Mart stores to help customers understand the products and their environmental benefits;
• marketing concentrated laundry detergent through promotions in print publications, on Wal-Mart TV and at walmart.com; and
• educating Wal-Mart associates through internal communications channels.
This year’s Clinton Global Initiative commitment builds on Wal-Mart’s commitment last year to reduce packaging by 5 percent by 2013. Both commitments reflect the company’s “Sustainability 360” approach that extends sustainability to its products, suppliers, associates, communities and customers.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.