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UML’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) recently participated in Wal-Mart’s Earth to Earth workshop held at its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters.
Carole LeBlanc, TURI’s laboratory director, attended as one of approximately seventy-five experts and stakeholders from around the globe. The group gathered to discuss how best to critique and implement Wal-Mart’s vision of sustainability, specifically with regard to its textile operations and the use of organic cotton. Work groups were divided into field, factory and post-production areas for supply-chain management.
LeBlanc participated as a representative of the Institute’s perspective on upstream pollution prevention in industry. As part of the workshop, LeBlanc participated in discussions with Wal-Mart associates on consumer education and with suppliers such as Procter & Gamble on the consumer care of garments, including the formulation and use of detergents and cleaning equipment. LeBlanc was the lone government-sector voice at the meetings.
“If a large retailer like Wal-Mart starts demanding that safer cleaning products line their shelves, then the positive benefits will ripple throughout the supply chain to the public,” says LeBlanc, “And for that, I am grateful to be part of the process.”
Wal-Mart is the world’s leading retailer, employing 1.6 million people with more than 3,600 stores in the United States. Forty-four of those stores are located right here in Massachusetts.