May Issue: Canadian Packaging chats with Walmart Canada's chief merchandising officer to learn how the retailing giant remains on track to deliver on its packaging sustainability pledge
It is safe to say that no other annual event in the Canadian packaging community packs them in like the Walmart Sustainable Packaging Conference in Toronto.
Organized and managed by PAC-The Packaging Association, the annual forum offers compelling proof of Walmart Canada Corp.’s unwavering commitment to packaging sustainability and meaningful carbon footprint reduction—right across its vast global supply chain.
Always featuring top-ranking Walmart Canada executives and their leading CPG (consumer packaged goods) vendor partner counterparts, the highly-anticipated event routinely draws hundreds of senior representatives from the packaging and CPG industry, as well as environmental regulators and watchdog groups, to hear candid progress updates on the retailer’s much-lauded and closely-monitored implementation of its self-styled Packaging Scorecard vendor evaluation system—designed to enable the world’s largest retailer to achieve a five percent reduction in the amount of packaging sent to its stores by the end of 2013.
With that firm deadline now just a year-and-a-half-year away, next month’s Walmart Sustainable Packaging Conference VI—to be held June 19 at the Toronto Congress Centre—promises to be more even more relevant and educational for Canada’s packaging professionals than any of its earlier editions, with a top-level line-up of speakers offering priceless insights into how and why packaging sustainability must be a top corporate priority for all progressively-minded businesses serving Canada’s increasingly environmentally astute consumer public.
One of the senior Walmart Canada executives who will be addressing the Toronto conference audience for the first time is Lee Tappenden, who was appointed as the company’s chief merchandising officer last year.
While still a relative newcomer to Walmart Canada’s headquarter operations in Mississauga, Ont., having joined Walmart Canada as senior vice-president of merchandising operations in 2010, he is anything but a newcomer to the parent company Walmart Stores Inc.’s far-flung global business, with the University of Westminster business graduate embarking on his Walmart career with the retailer’s U.K. subsidiary ASDA in 1996.
After transferring to the U.S. operations to accept a position with the Walmart global sourcing team, Tappenden continued to rise through a series of progressively senior roles within the U.S. operations before moving on to Walmart Japan, where he served as chief merchandising officer before moving to Canada for his next professional challenge.
It is a challenge that naturally carries a considerable burden of responsibility for Tappenden, who is leading a highly-dedicated and environmentally-conscious team of buyers whose purchasing decisions ultimately drive the company’s general merchandise, food, health-and-wellness and apparel businesses.
The Canadian Packaging magazine recently caught up with Tappenden at his Mississauga office to get an update on how Walmart Canada’s packaging sustainability efforts, along with a little preview of what’s in store for the retailer’s Canadian vendors and their packaging suppliers as the company steps into high gear to meet is ambitious environmental pledges next year.
Please explain what environmental sustainability means to Walmart Canada, and what the company is doing to achieve it at its Canadian operations.