Monday, May 17, 2010

Walmart, the Champion of Green

Marketing textbooks call powerful intermediaries like Walmart "channel captains," and that's not an exaggeration in this case.

Walmart's embrace of eco-friendly products and practices shows how a big, influential business can become an extremely well-regarded industry leader--actually, a champion--not just a giant competitor to be feared.

When you're as big as Walmart, small changes can make a big difference to the environment. The company's cardboard recycling efforts alone are saving 125,000 trees and 40 million gallons of water. From energy to plastic waste, carbon footprint to land-fill waste, Walmart is making progress on many environmental fronts.

It's also pushing suppliers to go greener. Walmart's Sustainability Index, which will label products according to their effect on the environment, is nudging vendors through disclosure. Customers will be able to see which products are greener . . . and vote with their dollars (or pounds or pesos).

The chemical industry, for one, welcomes Walmart's initiatives, and many chemical companies have their own green agendas that coincide with the retailer's objectives. Championing green does more than polish corporate images; it increases customer choice and, more important, cleans up the environment.

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