Big Changes at the Big Box

By Richard Bradley

Photovoltaic panels provide energy for Wal-Mart’s experimental store in Aurora, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Some environmentalists say that Wal-Mart is really just trying to clean up its image.
I’m keeping track of how many stakeholders from the environmental community, instead of standing outside throwing rocks, are now inside helping us resolve issues.

Wal-Mart has 1.8 million employees worldwide. Are you turning them all into environmentalists?
Starting next year, we’re incorporating [awareness of sustainability issues] into employee evaluations. We’re also doing something called the Personal Sustainability Plan—encouraging people to ride their bikes to work, use compact fluorescent light bulbs, carry a Nalgene bottle for drinking water.

Is it working?
For some employees and customers, this type of thinking is new. Take lightbulbs. On average, people spend less than seven seconds making the decision to buy a lightbulb, so getting them to change their habits isn’t as simple as you might think.

But when you have 136 million people going through your stores every week, the potential impact is phenomenal.

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Issue 25

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