Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores has outlined a series of targets and expectations aimed at creating a more environmentally and socially aware global supply chain.

Speaking at a conference of more than 1,000 leading suppliers, Chinese officials and NGOs in Beijing, Wal-Mart president and CEO Lee Scott said the company would focus on meeting or beating social and environmental standards, driving innovation and efficiency, and building stronger partnerships with suppliers, governments and NGOs.

"I firmly believe that a company that cheats on overtime and on the age of its labour, that dumps its scraps and chemicals in our rivers, that does not pay its taxes or honour its contracts - will ultimately cheat on the quality of its products," said Scott.

"And cheating on the quality of its products is the same as cheating on customers. We will not tolerate that at Wal-Mart."

The company has set out a list of requirements for those doing business with it, including required demonstration of compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Beginning with Chinese suppliers in January 2009, this would roll out around the globe by 2011. Wal-Mart said it would also work with suppliers to improve energy efficiency in its top 200 directly sourced supplier factories in China by 20% by 2012.

The company also wants to drive returns on defective merchandise "virtually out of existence" by 2012.

And by 2009, it will require suppliers to provide the name and location of the factory that makes every product supplied to Wal-Mart.

Suppliers should also source 95% of their production directly from factories receiving the highest ratings for environmental and social practices by 2012, it added.

Finally, Wal-Mart China has pledged to make its stores more sustainable, including a new store prototype using 40% less energy, plus a 30% reduction in energy use at existing stores by 2010.

It will also aim to halve water use at its stores during the next two years.