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The Sustainability Index

Two of the largest retailers in the world, IKEA and Walmart, are independently developing a rating for the sustainability of their products. Walmart plans on sharing the product rating while IKEA will not.

Products will be rated on quality, recyclable content, and energy efficient production to mention a few key criteria. Walmart should roll out the rating soon so look for it at your favorite store.

Sounds to me like the greenwashing which has hit many other markets. Companies provide information to customers in an effort to sway a purchase such as putting a picture of a forest on a bottle of harsh cleaning solution for the home. 

When I think of both IKEA and Walmart I do not think of long lasting and sustainable anyway. The tension lamp I bought at IKEA lasted about four months before it kept crashing to my desk with a thud. What if it had a high sustainability index because it was made at a plant utilizing renewable energy and was 75% recycled content? Unfortunately, it was made so poorly it didn’t work so I threw it away.

I think if we just use our intuition we could determine a sustainable index. Does it look like it will do the job for a long time? Does it exemplify quality or does it look like you could break it? Maybe just keeping something out of the landfill is the most sustainable thing one can do!

In the meantime, look for the sustainability index at your local Walmart. Let me know what you think!

-Rob Smith 


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