Unformatted text preview: of recycled content but the towels themselves were made of unrecycled
paper treated with chlorine bleach. When the details behind the product were exposed, both
organizations were heavily criticized.6 By 1991, Walmart’s green tags had declined to roughly
200 products.7 Within another couple of years, the program seemed to disappear altogether.
While Walmart continued some of its other environmental programs (e.g., recycling, charitable
giving to environmental causes), the environment as an issue seemed to slip off the company’s
list of primary strategic priorities.
In contrast to the environmental campaign of 1989, the sustainability strategy launched in 2005
would need to be long-lasting and deeply embedded in Walmart’s operations to meet Scott’s
ambitious public goals. Andrew Ruben had been named by Scott to lead the sustainability
strategy. As they looked to 2007, Ruben and Elm knew they had to keep environmental
improvement tightly coupled with business value and profitability for the strategy to succeed,
and they challenged themselves to find new ways to drive measurable results.
Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. By offering desirable
product assortments and unmatched pricing to the underserved markets of middle America, the
company grew into a retail giant. By 1985, Walmart Stores, Inc. had reached 882 stores,
104,000 associates, and sales of $8.4 billion. Thereafter, the company expanded internationally
and by the end of 2005 had 6,200 Walmart U.S., Walmart International, and Sam’s Club
facilities in 15 countries around the world, 1.6 million associates, and $312.4 billion in sales.8
According to a December 2005 poll, 84 percent of Americans had shopped at a Walmart within
the past year.9 If Walmart were a country, it would be the 20th largest in the world (equating
GDP to sales), and if it were a city, its number of associates would be equivalent to the
population of the 5th largest in the United States.10 Commenting on the unprecedented level of
power the company had realized in the retail i...
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- Winter '10
- Walmart., Walmart’s sustainability