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Unformatted text preview: xternal consultants from
Blu Skye or RMI.
Another essential element of the sustainability strategy was to look outside “the Bentonville
Bubble” for input. Over the years, Walmart had become notorious for being internally and
operationally focused. To open its door and seek strategic level input from outside parties
represented a major cultural change for the organization, but Walmart started “pulling ideas from
everywhere”20consultants, nongovernmental organization (NGOs), suppliers, eco-friendly
competitors, academics, and even critics.
The collaborative approach worked so well that the company decided to make it part of its
ongoing sustainability model. Across the 14 value networks, hundreds of external entities were
asked to join and participate on an ongoing basis. The primary criterion for inclusion was only
that, “We want to engage folks who are genuinely committed to desired future outcomes and
solutions as opposed to those who are focused on controversy,” Elm added. The network
captains managed the involvement of these external participants.
Walmart also began to engage in dialog with government policy makers regarding climate
change. In the U.S., either a tax or a cap-and-trade system for curbing greenhouse gases seemed
imminent. Walmart opposed a carbon tax as regressive and costly to its customers. If allowed to
participate in a cap-and-trade system, the company could unlock a “virtual gold mine”21
of credits for CO2 reduction in its supply chain. In testimony before the U.S. senate, Ruben
testified in favor of immediate, strong federal regulation and the company later publicly endorsed
proposals for “market-based programs for greenhouse gas reductions.”22
More About the Sustainable Value Networks
When Ruben, Elm, and the other members of the sustainability core team set out to launch the
sustainable value networks, they gave the captains explicit guidance regarding the focus of the
sustainability strategy: “It’s not an environmental initiative, it’s a business strategy,” Elm noted.
“Your overall objective is to derive economic benefits fr...
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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