Walmart’s Green Efforts

Walmart is facing criticism for the slow progress of its well publicized sustainability drive, launched in 2005. The company’s recently released annual Sustainability Report highlighted progress in waste reduction and renewable energy, and in creating both a, “Great for You,” nutritional label and a sustainability index to help the company’s buyers evaluate purchases in 100 categories.

Walmart’s efforts to develop a simple package label to guide shoppers toward sustainable choices, on the other hand, isn’t coming along easily, reports Advertising Age. Walmart initially consigned the project to a Sustainability Consortium, whose 90 members now include rival retailers such as Kroger, Safeway and Best Buy; and suppliers, including Procter & Gamble Co., Unilever, Coca-Cola Co., Disney and Dell. Academics from the University of Arkansas and Arizona State University are overseeing the process.

Brooke Buchanan, director of sustainability communications for Walmart, reportedly said that although Walmart has not met its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy, it does get 22 percent of energy from such sources. Of that 22 percent, four percent comes from on-site generation via windmills or solar installations at Walmart facilities. The other 18 percent of power from renewable sources is purchased from outside providers. The retailer decided not to buy offsets that could have made it appear to reach its goal without actually changing its power sourcing, Buchanan pointed out. The company also hasn’t reached its goal of sending no waste to landfills, but it recycles 81 percent of its waste, she noted. This story was adapted from an article in Advertising Age.