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Walmart to Label 'Better' Products

They call it "purposeful" shopping.

One of the top retailers in America is adding a new tag to certain items in its stores with the aim of helping shoppers find products that are designated as better for them and the planet.

Walmart recently unveiled a new program it’s calling “Built for Better,” an attempt to make it easier for shoppers to identify products Walmart says “are good for their families, the people who made them and the planet.”

The retailer acknowledges that what they refer to as “purposeful” shopping takes more time. Customers who are conscious of a product’s ingredients, origins or packaging may need to spend more time reading labels, which is why Walmart has committed to adding its own tags to some 2,000 products.

The “Built for Better - For You” icon, according to Walmart, highlights “more nutritious products or those that meet independent and authoritative standards that recognize products made without specific materials or ingredients customers may not want.” These might include controversial ingredients like parabens or other chemicals and preservatives.

The second badge is referred to as “Built for Better - For the Planet” and designates products, says Walmart, “that reduce the impact on the planet for future generations with a focus on sustainably sourced and climate conscious products.”

Walmart says this effort is just one of many that support its efforts to becoming a “regenerative company” which is defined by “placing nature and humanity at the center of (its) business practices.”

Despite Walmart’s language, a report in CBS News highlights what it called the “limited praise” the initiative has received from consumer and environmental advocates. US PIRG called it "a baby step forward" for the planet and said the company could be doing a lot more by applying broad standards to its supply base rather than picking a handful of products.

The Environmental Defense Fund’s director of consumer health Boma Brown-West called the effort “encouraging” but also added that Walmart, and other businesses, needed to accelerate “their climate, health and equity initiatives even further” or risk reputational damage in the long run.

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