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Unformatted text preview: w.environmentaldefense.org/article.cfm?contentID=5300 (January 25, 2007).
All quotations from interviews conducted by authors unless otherwise cited.
b Walmart’s Sustainability Strategy (A) OIT-71A p. 4 Getting Started
The next challenge was to figure out where to focus. Over the next four to six months, Walmart
worked with Blu Skye, Conservation International (CI) and the Environmental Defense Fund
(EDF) to identify which of its products and processes created the greatest environmental impacts.
The impact assessment leveraged data compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
regarding environmental impacts in five primary areas (greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution,
water pollution, water use, and land use) across 134 product categories.19 For each of these
product categories and impact areas, the UCS estimated an environmental impact score per $1
spent by a consumer (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions in tons of CO2 equivalents per $1 spent on
electronics). Walmart then multiplied these environmental impact scores by 2003 sales in each
product category to estimate the company’s overall environmental impact in each of the five
areas. While the results were relatively rough, they provided managers with enough directional
data to help them understand where the greatest problems existed and start thinking about
pragmatic solutions. (See Exhibit 1 for the product categories with highest total environmental
By June 2005, a team of top Walmart executives, high-potential employees, and the consultants
had identified three primary areas around which it would set environmental goals for reducing
Walmart’s impact on the environment: energy, waste, and products. In each area, “We
recognized early on that we had to look at the entire value chain,” said Elm. “If we had focused
on just our own operations, we would have limited ourselves to 10 percent of our effect on the
environment and, quite frankly, eliminated 90 percent of the opportunity that's out there.”
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2014 for the course LGST 210 taught by Professor Sep during the Winter '10 term at UPenn.
- Winter '10