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With goals clearly articulated around Walmart’s own energy consumption and waste, as well as
improving the sustainability of its products through targeted supply chain improvements, the
company was ready to take action. Its next step was to pull together sustainability teams to drive
environmental change related to energy, waste, and products in the aforementioned high impact
areas. Ultimately, 14 sustainable value networks, as they would come to be known, were
defined (see Exhibit 2 for a complete listing). An executive sponsor was identified for each
network, as well as a network captain. The network captains were typically senior level
managers from Sam’s Club or Walmart who were considered to be among the company’s top
performers. Each one was responsible for leading a cross-functional team of Walmart associates
that would be focused on driving sustainability in different parts of the business.
Importantly, Walmart decided to make sustainability a new responsibility for people in their
existing positions rather than creating new jobs or building a separate sustainability-related
organization. This way, sustainability was less likely to be considered a fringe initiative led by a
disconnected group of individuals in the home office, but rather an integral part of the way work
was performed. Aside from a small core team of five dedicated staff members, which included
Ruben and Elm, no Walmart associates were assigned to work on sustainability on a full-time
basis (with only a few exceptions in textiles and global logistics). Elm explained the approach:
“Business sustainability isn't something you're doing in addition to your job. It is a new way of
approaching your job.” Ruben concurred: “People are absolutely stretched thin, but there’s
incredible power that comes from keeping sustainability within the business.” To help make the Walmart’s Sustainability Strategy (A) OIT-71A p. 5 model viable, in most cases each network was staffed with one or more e...
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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