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Unformatted text preview: (e.g. plasticizers used to make PVC
flexible). These groups urged Walmart to measure the PVC content in products and give
preference to products without PVC content. On the other hand, some suppliers argued that the
negative health effects of PVC were unproven and that customers demanded the strength and
flexibility in certain products (e.g., shower curtains, inflatable swimming pools) that only PVC
could provide. Walmart had to manage this tension as it decided on what metrics would drive its
product assortment and pricing decisions.
Walmart also needed new metrics for communicating with customers. Walmart was quietly
promoting its organic cotton apparel (through the use of hang-tags). However, Walmart faced Walmart’s Sustainability Strategy (A) OIT-71A p. 21 two primary problems with communicating other products’ sustainability-related attributes.
First, the networks had to be careful about promoting the performance of green products in such
a way that conventional alternatives would appear undesirable (e.g., MSC certified versus noncertified fish). Second, Walmart often did not have enough reliable information to definitively
explain or defend a product’s environmental and health benefits to customers. If the company
was uncertain about the safety, effectiveness, or environmental impact of a product, for example
because it relied on suppliers to self-police (e.g., RoHS-compliant PCs), it could not promote
those attributes. These two problems were evident in the compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL)
initiative (coordinated by the global greenhouse gas network) and the chemical intensive
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
In 2006, driven by the sustainability attribute of improved energy efficiency, Walmart announced
a goal to sell 100 million energy-saving CFLs per year by 2008. If the company accomplished
this objective, total sales of the bulbs in the U.S. would increase by 50 percent and the
corresponding savings to Americans in electricity costs would be approximately $3 billion.47 It
would also result in a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions since...
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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