Is Wal-Mart turning over a new leaf? It looks like they're trying. According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart is on a mission to go green, developing a universal rating system that scores each of their products on its social and environmental impact — kind of like green nutrition labels. They apparently intend to go beyond the standard sustainability concerns, like emissions and water conservation, and actually delve into more complex questions, like "Did this T-shirt come from a cotton crop that was sprayed with pesticide?" and "Was excessive packaging used to ship these diapers?"
This almost seems at first like a greenwashing ploy, but we have to admit that maybe we're still holding on to a grudge against Wal-Mart. As The New York Times writes, "The only thing less likely than a Wal-Mart meeting [a "sustainability meeting" as described by Michael T. Duke, Wal-Mar's President and Chief Executive] that sounds as if it were dreamed up by liberal-arts environmentalists may be that a number of scholars and environmental groups say that Wal-Mart is the only entity capable of making "sustainable consumption" a retailing reality."
Wow. If that's a case, then this could truly be a break-through. Wal-Mart is recognizing that more and more consumers are making purchasing decisions not only based on price, but also sustainability factors and environmental issues. We'll see if it happens. This whole plan is still years in the making.
Read the whole article at The New York Times.
What do you think about this?