Can Walmart Save the World?

Retailer Announces Further Sustainability Goals

Regardless of how you feel about Walmart, there’s no denying the overwhelming economic power of one of the world’s largest public corporations. The retailer from Bentonville’s relentless emphasis on low prices has rewritten how the world buys consumer goods—and in doing so—how manufacturers, as well as marketers approach business.

But over the past few years the retailer has moved beyond “Always Low Prices, Always” to a new mantra, “Save Money Live Better”. At first glance, Walmart’s motivation may be seen as purely a value reaction to Target’s “Expect More Pay Less,” and the retailer’s increased emphasis on design. The answer is perhaps both of these, but also a nod to Walmart’s ongoing commitment to making the world a better place—for both individuals and society as a whole.

Over ha past few years the retailer has increasingly emphasized sustainability in manufacturing, packaging and operational systems. With Walmart’s recent announcement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their supply chain, the firm’s commitment seems solidified. Former chief executive officer of Walmart, H. Lee Scott previously described the corporation’s entry to sustainability efforts as, “even a blind pig finds an acorn once and a while.” Initially, Walmart may have been misguided, but there is no denying the momentum they can create for social and environmental causes.

But forget about purely altruistic intentions, think about the economic benefits of sustainable efficiencies. There is big money at stake, from cost saving initiatives, as well as market appeal.

Walmart is the 800 pound gorilla in the room that just can’t be ignored. The house that Sam built has rewritten the retail landscape. To many, working with Walmart may seem like wrestling a gorilla. And as the old saying goes about gorilla wrestling, “you don’t quit when you’re tired, you quit when the gorilla is tired.”

Perhaps, Walmart is just what cause marketing needed.

Walmartstores.com: Announcement on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

USA Today: Is Wal-Mart the new green giant? Its plan to cut emissions raises questions

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