Walmart Sustainability

And also to transition the company from an

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Unformatted text preview: om improved environmental and social outcomes. It’s not philanthropy.” Furthermore, the networks were encouraged “to develop a ‘sensing organization’ that is aware of the external business environment, and able to incorporate this perspective into business decisions that create long-term value. And, also to transition the company from an organization that derives value primarily from transactions to one that also derives value from relationships,” said Elm. Beyond that, the networks were given the freedom to define their own sustainability objectives and plot their own course. To get started, most networks went through a process to “engage, explore, and expand.” Engagement meant looking beyond Walmart’s traditional stakeholders (customers, associates, shareholders, and suppliers) to identify and work with a broader community of participants that could provide information, subject matter expertise, and other resources to help Walmart further define and achieve its environmental goals (see Exhibit 3 for an illustration of network membership). Exploration included analyzing the life cycle of particular products or services and investigating the related environmental issues (see Exhibit 4 for a sampling of issues for each network). “Then you expand,” said Elm, “by looking in the value chain to identify which of our business activities are matched to the issues, and considering if we should be doing Walmart’s Sustainability Strategy (A) OIT-71A p. 6 business differently. [We ask], ‘Does that business activity need to be undertaken at all? Does it need to be undertaken by someone else? Where are the opportunities to drive improved value for the business and for our stakeholders?’” The idea was to determine where and how the company could change its business model to address the needs and concerns of this broader community, as well as its traditional stakeholders. Elm continued: Once we've identified all the issues that are out there, we develop a desired future out...
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