Published on: January 28, 2009Reuters reports that incoming Walmart CEO Mike Duke plans to “accelerate” and “broaden” the company’s sustainability initiatives, saying at a Sustainability Milestone Meeting this week, “I am very serious about it. This is not optional. It's not something of the past. This is all about the future."
Duke made the point that he expects suppliers to meet exacting environmental standards in the products they manufacture and the packaging they use. “"The leaders that get ahead in Wal-Mart will be ones that demonstrate their commitment to sustainability," he said. "You won't be able, in the future, to really be viewed in the same way if you put this on the back burner."
As noted in the Reuters story, current Walmart CEO Lee Scott “began the retailer's environmental push in 2005, outlining plans to one day use only renewable energy and creating zero waste. The efforts have been seen as a way for Wal-Mart to improve its reputation, help the environment and cut costs.
“To that end, Wal-Mart has increased its use of solar and wind power, pushed vendors to make electronics more energy-efficient and switched to selling only concentrated laundry detergent in its U.S. stores.”
In related news, Dow Jones reports that Walmart’s Canada division plans a new environmentally themed private label program called “For The Greener Good.”
According to the story, “Wal-Mart Canada spokesman Andrew Pelletier said later that the company hopes to have 200 products carrying the For the Greener Good label by the end of 2009, and that the brand will cross several categories, including consumables, hardlines, health and wellness, and apparel. CFL bulbs, household cleaners, detergents, and small appliances are a few examples of products the program will likely include, he said.”
- KC's View:
- At some level, I have to believe that the folks at Walmart love it when they read debates like the one that has been taking place on MNB the past few days, as folks argue back and forth about whether climate change has been accelerated or created by man’s indifference to the environment, and whether sustainability efforts actually can have much impact on a planet that some people seem to believe they have little or no responsibility for nurturing.
Because the folks at Walmart seem to know that being “green” has a variety of bottom line implications. They have grabbed this issue by the horns and have decided to make it work for their company both in terms of environmental impact, financial advantage and image sustainability.
You guys keep arguing, the folks at Walmart likely are saying. You’ll be like Nero, fiddling while Rome burns…and meanwhile, we’ll be selling water and fire extinguishers.
BTW…I had the chance to interview Mike Duke a year and a half ago in Shanghai at the CIES World Food Business Summit, and I was impressed by his straightforward commitment to this issue. We talked a lot about it that day, and this re-stated dedication to Walmart’s sustainability focus does not surprise me at all.