Unformatted text preview: ts pricing labels in the food department regarding a
product’s cost per ounce, some customers found it misleading and reacted negatively. Ruben Walmart’s Sustainability Strategy (A) OIT-71A p. 22 recalled, “I’ve worked at the register when customers thought a product cost 26 cents. But what
you quickly realize is that they were looking at the price per ounce. When you clarify the price,
they understandably get upset.” Walmart also needed to inform customers about the mercury
contained within the bulbs and their safe disposal without raising undue alarm (see Exhibit 8).
While avoiding lighting products that contained hazardous substances might have been an
alternative sustainability attribute that guided the team’s efforts, this issue was given secondary
priority relative to the its chosen “North Star” of energy efficiency.
Chemical Intensive Products
The chemical intensive products network was focused on identifying potentially harmful
chemicals and motivating manufacturers to eliminate those chemicals from their products.
Indoor pollution caused by common household paints, solvents, cleaning products, and pesticides
had severe environmental effects as well as significant human health consequences. The healthrelated costs associated with this indoor pollution had been estimated to be in the tens of billions
of dollars in the U.S.53 Despite the magnitude of this problem, the EPA required testing for
fewer than 200 of roughly 62,000 chemicals used in commerce since 1979.54 Manufacturers
were hesitant to invest in testing health effects of commonplace or alternative chemicals because
competitors would quickly capitalize on the findings (without making a commensurate
investment) since the same chemicals were used in many products across the industry.
In October 2006, the network identified three chemicals for which it would encourage suppliers
to seek more sustainable substitutes (at no additional cost to Walmart). These chemicals were
chosen based on their negative ratings against defined metrics such as carcinogenicity an...
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- Winter '10
- Walmart., Walmart’s sustainability