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Wal-mart%20Watch%20--%20sustainability%20copy - WAL...

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THE AVERAGE WAL-MART SUPERCENTER is a 200,000 square foot behemoth sitting on 20 to 30 acres of land. 1 There are 2,256 Wal-Mart Supercenters in the United States, collectively taking up an enormous amount of land. That’s not counting regular Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Clubs, Neighborhood Markets, distribution centers and warehouses, which could more than triple that gure. Wal-Mart is the largest commercial entity in the Unit- ed States, both physically and economically, and its stores require enormous amounts of resources to function. Massive amounts of land, energy, labor, and money are poured into each Wal-Mart store, and too often Wal- Mart exhausts those resources. What is the impact of this business model? How does it a ect local economies? How does it a ect employment practices? The environment? And most importantly, can this way of doing business be sustained? Continued on page 4 WAL MART WATCH IN DEPTH AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE LARGEST RETAILER ON EARTH ABOUT US: WAL-MART WATCH is a nationwide public education campaign to challenge the world’s largest retailer to become a better employer, neighbor and corporate citizen. We bridge the gap be- tween ordinary citizens and community orga- nizations concerned about Wal-Mart’s unchecked growth and negative impact on our society. We challenge Wal-Mart to embrace its moral responsibility as the nation’s biggest and most important corporation. SUSTAINING WAL-MART Letter from our Executive Director Keep Your Eyes on the Size: The Impossibility of a Green Wal-Mart Exhausting Work: How Wal-Mart’s Employment Practices are Unsustainable . . . . 2 . . . . 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 How Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Goes Far Beyond Environmentalism An abandoned Wal-Mart store in Alabama. Photo by Brave New Films. IN THIS ISSUE Sustainability in the Supply Chain Words from the Coalition: Toxic Toys at Wal-Mart Book Review: The Small Mart Revolu- tion by Michael Shuman Frequently Asked Questions about Sustainability at Wal-Mart . . . . . .11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
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SUSTAINABILITY 2 OVER THE PAST YEAR, Wal-Mart has worked overtime to develop environmental e ciency initiatives. Some progress has been made on this front, and for that we commend the company. But there’s more to being a sustainable company than new lightbulbs. This issue of In Depth tackles a question at the very heart of any business’s long-term viability: Is Wal-Mart a sustainable company? While Wal-Mart may take important steps to make its products more environ- mentally-friendly or to reduce the amount of energy it uses, its business model as a whole remains inherently unsustainable. Wal-Mart has invested in a business model that relies on market saturation and low costs. This business model gener- ated dramatic growth in the 1990s, skyrocketing the company to become the larg- est retailer in the world. But its success came with a price. Not only have domestic sales stagnated as the company reaches market saturation, but Wal-Mart’s negative impact on the environment, local economies and America’s employees is becom- ing all too clear.
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