Ever since several small farms were transformed into a Super Wal-Mart just a half mile from our home, I’ve been on the warpath. But I must admit that the actions and words of Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott suggests a new very green strategy by the world’s largest retailer. This is a welcome contrast to the denial politics of the Bush administration.
Last week, Wal-Mart joined leading energy executives in their startling call for mandatory caps on greenhouse-gas emissions.
The company controls so much of the retail market, and has such sway over manufacturers, that any green initiatives on its part have huge ripple effects. And it’s certainly CEO H. Lee Scott’s intention to make waves.
In October, Scott announced a preposterously ambitious goal to transform Wal-Mart into a company that runs on 100 percent renewable energy and produces zero waste. Since then, he has impressed greens with specific commitments to cut the corporation’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent over the next seven years, double the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet within 10 years, reduce solid waste from U.S. stores by 25 percent in the next three years, and double offerings of organic foods this spring, selling them at prices more affordable to the masses.
Enviros hope Wal-Mart will have the same game-changing effect on mainstreaming environmental strategies that it has had on reducing prices. "Wal-Mart’s new commitments to increase efficiency and reduce pollution and waste are important first steps for a company that has such a profound impact on our environment," Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said in a public statement. "More companies should take these positive steps toward safer and healthier communities."