The Fund aims to divert raw materials from landfill by providing US shoppers with access to recycling

The Fund aims to divert raw materials from landfill by providing US shoppers with access to recycling

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores has unveiled plans to launch a "groundbreaking" closed-loop initiative, designed to transform the recycling system in the US. 

The 'Closed Loop Fund' aims to invest US$100m in recycling infrastructure projects and spur private and public funding to divert valuable raw materials from landfill. 

According to Rob Kaplan, director of product sustainability at Wal-Mart, the initiative relates to all forms of municipal waste.

He said the company expects investments to focus on packaging recycling, as well as organics and clothing, which are a large part of the waste problem.

At the company's Sustainable Product Expo, Wal-Mart also previewed plans to create a sustainability store online. The shopping portal, expected to launch by the end of 2014, will allow shoppers to "easily identify brands that are leading sustainability within a category via a special icon".

These new initiatives to drive sustainability across the supply chain are based on metrics from the Sustainability Index. 

Since 2009, Wal-Mart, its suppliers, stakeholders and competitors have worked with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) to develop measurement and reporting systems for product sustainability, including the Index.

The tools from TSC offer Wal-Mart a common way to evaluate supplier performance and drive innovation. Over 700 product categories are now covered by the Index.

"Wal-Mart and our suppliers recognise that collaboration is the key to bringing sustainable solutions to all of our customers," said president and CEO Doug McMillon.

"A great deal of innovative work is happening every day, but there are still too many gaps and missed opportunities.

"Today's commitments are about creating real systems change from one end of the supply chain to the other - meaning how products are grown and made, how they're transported and sold, and how we touch the lives of people along the way."