The Sustainability Insight System (THESIS) Index (formerly the Sustainability Index) is a sustainability performance tool that allows brands and manufacturers to understand the sustainability story of their products. It generates assessments that Walmart uses to identify key social and environmental hot spots and to set an agenda as we work with suppliers to drive continuous improvement. Suppliers can see their own scores, how they rank relative to the field and gain insight into improvement opportunities for each of the categories they supply.

The Index currently covers: 125+ categories, 1,800 suppliers, 300 buyers across Walmart, Sam's Club and Walmart.com. In the categories covered by the Index, 70 percent of our goods come from suppliers that have participated in the Index.

How it Works

Created by The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a global nonprofit organization transforming the consumer goods industry to deliver more sustainable consumer products, THESIS performance assessments are comprised of key performance indicators (KPIs) with detailed user guidance and background information. TSC has also created supporting documents like KPI calculation tools, sustainability snapshots and, when available, illustrated supply chain diagrams. THESIS on SupplyShift is an interactive tool that highlights environmental and social hotspots relevant to a product category, practices that can be used to drive improvement on those hotspots, and KPIs to track and measure year-over-year performance.

THESIS is science-based and stakeholder-informed, including input by companies, academics, civil society organizations, and government agencies. It first identifies the materially significant environmental and social issues—or “hot spots”—across the product life cycle. At the same time, “improvement opportunities” are identified to address those hotspots. The supply chain hotspots and improvement opportunities are then summarized in THESIS supporting documents.

Next, KPIs are developed in the form of questions used to assess the sustainability performance against the most critical hotpots in each product category. Suppliers should complete an assessment for each product category that applies to what they supply. THESIS paints a picture of the sustainability challenges for nearly all consumer goods, from tomatoes to toys. We use THESIS data to identify key social and environmental hotspots and to set an agenda as we work with our suppliers to drive continuous improvement. We also use it to identify opportunities for special attention, such as fertilizer optimization or improved animal welfare, to help drive more substantial change quickly.

Finally, the performance assessment is integrated into decision-making tools throughout the business. The use of THESIS also sets the expectation that Walmart isn’t looking for change at the margins with a few niche products—we’re trying to raise the bar for all items we stock.

Additional details can be found on our corporate Sustainability site.


THESIS on SupplyShift is available to companies with active licenses year-round. Annual updates will be released mid-August, at which time you can log on to or create your company profile and begin your product sustainability assessments. The following are some helpful resources created by TSC with you in mind: