The greening of Wal-Mart

Recently, Wal-Mart has been rolling out plans for what it calls a sustainability index — a measure of how green the products it sells really are. It is asking each of its suppliers, an enormous list of businesses, 15 questions about the life of their products from manufacturing through disposal: questions about greenhouse gas emissions, social responsibility, waste reduction initiatives and water use. (via Can Wal-Mart Be Sustainable?)

As “green” and “sustainability” become shared values and norms in the external environment, businesses must adjust.

Benefits?

  • Micro: “It is a sound idea. And probably a very good marketing tool.”
  • Macro: “Given Wal-Mart’s huge purchasing power, if it is done right it could promote both much-needed transparency and more environmentally sensitive practices.”
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Dismissal the Wal-Mart way

 Julie Roehm got a call from her boss’s assistant at 12:15 p.m. on Dec. 4. J. John Fleming, then chief of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.‘s marketing department, wanted a word with his senior vice-president. Walking to Fleming’s office at the Bentonville (Ark.) headquarters, Roehm recalls thinking she was about to be fired. She was right. Ten months after being recruited to help modernize Wal-Mart’s tired brand, Roehm was out.

The meeting lasted seven minutes, Roehm says. A “very nice” human resources manager collected her company badge, Palm Treo, corporate credit card, and, yes, Wal-Mart discount card. Then the HR representative escorted Roehm out a side door to the parking lot. (BW)

The rest of the article provides details about Roehm’s short stay.