Walmart Sustainability

Indoor pollution caused by common household paints

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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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