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Inside views on Wal-Mart’s sustainable summit

walEarlier this month the US retailing giant Wal-Mart held a sustainability summit, bringing together its suppliers, partners and a handful of journalists to discuss what a company so big can do to improve its impact on the environment.

It’s easy to be sceptical about a firm like that, which hasn’t always shown an amazingly public spirited side (there’s even a class action lawsuit website for former employees wanting to sue the firm). But it seems like the firm seems pretty serious about making an impact: both in what it sells, and in how it acts. As Joel Makower, one of the attendees, reports:

The context, of course, is somewhat more complex. As Wal-Mart continues down the road to environmental improvement, it needs help from its suppliers to meet its ambitious goals. And in the manner that only a $348 billion retail giant can command, Wal-Mart is pressing its suppliers to improve their packaging, reduce waste, reduce toxicity, and create offerings aimed at Wal-Mart’s new mantra: “Save Money, Live Better.”

And as TreeHugger reports, when a company like Wal-Mart kicks into action, it can do a lot:

Scott announced a number of milestones that have been reached, including already passing their goal of selling 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs this year, and then described how suppliers can do their part to reduce packaging, eliminate toxins, and green their energy use.

All good stuff. Greenbang’s just wondering when Tesco and Sainsburys is going to invite him to their summits?

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