Wal-Mart Sets New Rules for Suppliers, Starting in China

In response to recent food safety concerns, Wal-Mart is rewriting environmental and safety guidelines for suppliers. From MarketWatch:

In a new agreement with its suppliers, the world’s largest retailer will require factories to certify compliance with laws and regulations where they operate. The agreement will be phased in with suppliers in China in January 2009 and expand to its suppliers around the world by 2011, the company said in a meeting in Beijing with over 1,000 of its top suppliers, Chinese officials and non-governmental organizations.

Wal-Mart’s mandates came in the wake of a series of safety scandals in China, including contaminated milk products, tainted pet foods and toys that carried high lead levels, forcing recalls from toy companies such as Mattel Inc.

“Maintaining the trust of our customers — today and in the future — is tied hand-in-hand with improving the quality of our supplier factories and their products,” said Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott.

Meanwhile, the U.N. has called for “urgent revision” of China’s food supervision system, according to this report in the Guardian.

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