Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wal-Mart Being Green?

I have mentioned Wall-Mart before in relation to its new 'green' image as with many organisations the first claim to arise is that of Greenwashing.

So let us not look at the words lets look at the facts.

1. Wal-Mart Own ASDA in the UK. These stores are currently an environmental nightmare.
  • Fridges/Freezers routinely refrigerate large parts of the store.
  • Lighting is overwhelingly artificial.
  • Facilities for non-automotive transport are near non-existant.
  • Packging waste is huge.
  • Plastic disposable bags are given out by the million.
  • Fruit and many other products are imported from across the globe.
To put all this bad practice into context check out their co2 emmissions:

"in addition to the 23 million tons of CO2 equivalent that Wal-Mart emits each year, there are an estimated 220 million tons of annual greenhouse-gas emissions in the company's supply chain."
Either of those numbers are huge, in a globe govorned by the physical systems of the planet each person would have around 1.5 MtCO2 as a quota...Wal-Mart and its supply chain would therefore have the emmissions of a country of 160 million people; roughly the population of Japan and England combined!

2. This is the starting point, things can only get better!
  • The Rocky Mountain institute have been hired to carry out some advisory work.
  • A meeting of Wal-Mart execs and suppliers met with Al Gore to view An Inconvenient Truth.
  • Their are some goals: CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. announced that the company would invest $500 million in technologies to reduce its stores' greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent in seven years, increase its truck fleet's fuel efficiency by 25 percent in three years and double it in 10 years, design a 25 percent more energy-efficient store within four years, work to reduce packaging, and pressure its worldwide network of suppliers to follow its lead.
  • CEO Lee Scot is Saying: "there can't be anything good about putting all these chemicals in the air. There can't be anything good about the smog you see in cities. There can't be anything good about putting chemicals in these rivers in Third World countries so that somebody can buy an item for less money in a developed country. Those things are just inherently wrong, whether you are an environmentalist or not."
We will only discover in the years to come whether this was all an elaborate green wash or the begining of genuine large scale corporate action on climate change. For now, don't worry about it just keep avoiding Wal-Mart for it's lousy treatment of workers: healthacare policies, union busting tactics, a whole range of sociatal mis-deeds...perhaps it will get round to these some day?

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1 Comments:

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Alan P. said...

Wal Mart, et al could be doing so much more. They have the money to install PV and battery backup on every one of their sunbelt stores. A few skylights and they wouldn't need that flourescent lighting during the day either. Right now it doesn't make sense to them money-wise to invest in green technology and by the time it does it will be too late. When is Wal Mart et al going to get with the program? Reduce, recycle, renew.

 

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