Walmart yesterday announced "a new commitment: over the next ten years, Walmart will spend an additional $350 billion on items made, grown or assembled in the US," in addition to the $250 billion pledged to the same effort in 2013.
In a statement, John Furner, President & CEO, Walmart US, said, "We estimate that this spend will support more than 750,000 new American jobs. We’ve identified six priority categories to focus on: plastics; textiles; small electrical appliances; food processing; pharmaceutical and medical supplies; and Goods Not For Resale (GNFR).
"This commitment will mean a few more impacts, including an estimated 100 million metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided by sourcing closer to our customers. It will also mean an increase in spending and support for small businesses and diverse suppliers and sellers who are based here in the U.S., and it will provide the opportunity for 9,000 entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers and sellers through our annual Open Call events."
Furner also announced another initiative, called American Lighthouses: "We plan to unite key stakeholders in specific regions of the country to identify and overcome top-down barriers to U.S. production. These Lighthouses will bring together participants from the supplier community (including manufacturers and NGOs) as well as others from academia, government and local economic development groups. By bringing together key regions and various stakeholders, we can make the supply chain more efficient. The aim is to bring U.S. manufacturing back in a sustainable, long-term way.
"U.S. manufacturing really matters. It matters to our suppliers, to entrepreneurs and to the environment. It matters to our customers - more than 85% of which have said it’s important for us to carry products made or assembled in the U.S. And most of all, because of the jobs it brings, it matters to American communities and the people who live in them."
- KC's View:
The one thing that I don't see in all this verbiage - and maybe I'm just missing it - is how Walmart plans to certify the provenance of these USA-centric products. Is there a third-party certification program that it plans to use to assure us that these claims are accurate? Is it planning to offer its own certification program, one with teeth and credibility?
Yes, the things that Furner is talking about matters. But what also matters is that we can have faith in the process, which requires a kind of aggressive transparency.