Wal-Mart_goes_green[1]

Wal-Mart_goes_green[1] - Case Study The Greening of...

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Stanford Social Innovation Review 518 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305-5015 Ph: 650-725-5399. Fax: 650-723-0516 Email: info@ssireview.com, www.ssireview.com Case Study The Greening of Wal-Mart For much of its history, Wal-Mart’s corporate management team toiled inside its “Bentonville Bubble,” narrowly focused on operational efficiency, growth, and profits. But now the world's largest retailer has widened its sights, building networks of employees, nonprofits, government agencies, and suppliers to “green” its supply chains. Here's how and why the world’s largest retailer is using a network approach to decrease its environmental footprint – and to increase its profitability. By Erica L. Plambeck and Lyn Denend Stanford Social Innovation Review Spring 2008 Copyright © 2007 by Leland Stanford Jr. University All Rights Reserved
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PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER ADAMS/GETTY IMAGES 52 STANFORD SOCIAL INNOVATION REVIEW / spring 2008 www.ssireview.org the greening of
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CASE STUDY www.ssireview.org spring 2008 / STANFORD SOCIAL INNOVATION REVIEW 53 In 1989, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched one of the first major retail campaigns to sell environmentally safe products in recyclable or biodegradable packaging. The corporation promoted these eco- friendly products by labeling them with green-colored shelf tags. Although the company boasted more than 300 green products at its peak, it did not directly set or monitor the environmental standards of its suppliers. This resulted in negative publicity for Wal-Mart when the public learned that a green-labeled brand of paper towels had only a recycled tube – the towels themselves were unrecycled paper treated with chlorine bleach. The green tag program began to wane, and by the mid-1990s environmental issues seemed to have slipped off the com- pany’s list of priorities. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart’s reputation among consumers was also slipping. Issues surrounding its competitive prac- tices and labor policies loomed large in the public eye. “The company’s envi- ronmental record was nothing to boast about, either,” according to one Fortune article. 1 Company study found that between 2 percent and 8 percent of consumers had stopped shopping at Wal-Mart because of the company’s practices. 2 Against this backdrop, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. unveiled a new plan to reduce the company’s environ- mental footprint. In an October 2005 speech broadcast to all 1.6 million employees in all 6,000-plus stores and shared with some 60,000 suppliers world- wide, he announced that Wal-Mart was initiating a sweeping “business sustain- ability strategy.” The idea was to reduce the company’s impact on the environ- ment through a commitment to three ambitious goals: “To be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy; to create zero waste; and to sell products that sus- tain our resources and the environ- ment.” 3 But these weren’t the plan’s only goals. “Sustainability represents the biggest business opportunity of the 21st
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This note was uploaded on 09/07/2011 for the course BUS 682 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at S.F. State.

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Wal-Mart_goes_green[1] - Case Study The Greening of...

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