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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.
Once we've identified all the issues that are out there, we develop a desired future
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- Winter '10