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06/21/2010

Walmart Goes Green by Jim Fitzgerald

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Walmart logo Watching baseball's first quadruple play was strange. Seeing Walmart go green is stranger still.

First the baseball: The scene was a game of T-Ball, where everyone bats every inning regardless of the number of outs.

The bases were loaded when a line drive ended up in the glove of the pitcher. While he wondered how it got there, all the runners took off without tagging up. The pitcher ran to third, then second, then first.

We kept counting the number of outs and they did not add up. First in our heads: That doesn't make sense. Then on our hand: That's crazy. Then our other hand: It kept adding up to four outs. It took us a while to believe what we saw right in front of us.

And now Walmart, the original Black Hat, is going green. Or better said… sustainable. Let that sink in because it is true. Big time!

So much so that Treehugger.com says, “It could end up being one of the biggest motivators to make truly 'green' products ever." As in history of the world.

Walmart has made believers out of not just the biggest environmental organizations in the world -- like the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Wildlife Federation -- but also Walmart suppliers.

It started five years ago when Walmart announced three goals: 

-- 100 percent renewable energy
-- Zero waste

-- Sustainable products

Walmart stores have already gone sustainable on dozens of fronts from shipping to selling to storing to recycling. Last year, they saved 4.8 billion plastic shopping bags. That's how they roll in Bentonville: Big.

Even the combined efforts of 8400 stores with two million associates doing $400B in sales every year was not enough: Walmart figured out 90 percent of the carbon was coming from its supply chain. So it reached down to all its 100,000 vendors -- and their vendors and their vendors -- and told them that reducing carbon footprints -- reducing energy -- will save money. Everyone knows that is what Walmart is all about.

"And vendors are listening," said Tom Rooney, CEO of SPG Solar in Novato, California, one of the largest solar installers in the country. "We are seeing renewed and intense interest in industrial - and commercial-scale solar because of Walmart, Proctor and Gamble and other companies showing their suppliers how to change their shipping, packaging, storing, selling, heating, cooling, disposing, recycling and other practices to squeeze energy out of the supply chain and save money. And solar is a big part of that."

Walmart: Not just for beating up anymore. Or maybe we are just seeing the world's first quintuple play.



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niec. very nice. very funny too.

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