Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. released a report detailing its progress towards reaching the company’s self-imposed sustainability goals on Thursday.
The company’s goals include reducing the amount of energy used in its retail stores, as well as cutting the amount of waste the group produces. The company has specially built testing stores where it experiments with ways to operate its stores in a more “green” way. Wal-Mart’s long term goals include eventually using only renewable energy sources while producing zero waste.
The retail discount giant has not only made sustainability plans for its own stores and property, it also unveiled an environmental plan for its employees, customers, and suppliers. The “Sustainability 360” program encourages almost everyone involved with Wal-Mart to use only renewable energy sources.
The new sustainability measures are not only an environmental measure, but also a cost-cutting move. Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., said: “We have found that there is no conflict between our business model of everyday low costs and everyday low prices and being a more sustainable business… Many of our environmental sustainability efforts, for example, mean cost savings for us, our suppliers and our customers, so that in both good times and bad times, they will remain part of who we are.”
It is quite fashionable to bash Wal-Mart, and that can be understood to some extent as they, like most companies, have some areas that could do with some major improvements. It at least appears, however, that they are attempting to make improvements in at least one of those areas. Their efforts seem genuine rather than just an attempt to appear greener, as is so common in the corporate world today.
Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer and wields a tremendous amount of power, financially and otherwise. While the company’s intentions may not be entirely altruistic, after all they are a for-profit entity and cost-cutting helps the bottom line, if their policies result in their stores becoming more sustainable and environmentally friendly, I applaud them. I can lay aside my existing opinions on the retailer, at least for today, just for this issue. Yes, Wal-Mart has many policies that clash with my own social and moral beliefs. However, I’m going to take a bit of hope from the fact that a corporation with such influence is using some of its power to help the environment. Our environment needs all the help it can get, regardless of where it comes from.
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