A new environmental rating program is being unveiled by Wal-Mart Stores this week.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, this step could redefine the design and makeup of consumer goods sold around the globe. The downside is it could boost costs for suppliers and customers.

This new environmental rating system would give Wal-Mart customers the ability to pick and choose products – from t-shirts to televisions, based on the products environmental ratings. And, the index would not just measure the environmental cost to produce the product, but also the impact the product would have over its life span.

It is unknown when consumers will see the labels in store. It could be a half decade or as early as 2011. And, experts say the labels would need to understandable by consumers yet scientifically accurate.

Wal-Mart executives believe that someday environmental labeling will be just like nutritional labeling on products is today.

The Wall Street Journal reports that some of Wal-Mart’s earlier efforts have had a wide-ranging impact -- from selling more than 100 million low-energy fluorescent bulbs to the creation of concentrated detergents that use less packaging and water.

Read the entire article.

Source: Wall Street Journal