Wal-Mart's Sustainability Strategy (C): Inventory Management in the Seafood Supply Chain

By Lyn Denend, Erica Plambeck
2010 | Case No. OIT71C

In 2007, Walmart was sourcing approximately $750 million in seafood annually. Although output from the world’s fisheries had declined to 3 percent of production levels in the year 1900, the company’s volume of seafood business was growing at roughly 25 percent per year. Against this backdrop, Peter Redmond, vice president for seafood and deli, believed that continuity of supply was the single greatest long-term issue facing the seafood network. To help address this challenge as part of the company’s recently-announced sustainability strategy, Walmart set a goal to transition to selling 100 percent MSC certified wild-caught seafood by the end of 2011. To accomplish its goal of selling only certified wild-caught fish, Walmart would have to work through its suppliers to increase the number of fisheries and processing plants in the MSC certification program. This case describes MSC certification and the salmon supply chain from the point of view of one of Walmart’s tier-one seafood suppliers. It provides enough detail that students should be able to make recommendations regarding how should Walmart rationalize its seafood supply chain to reduce costs and promote sustainability.

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