Where's The Big Idea?
Martin Flaherty on Business
In the past I've pointed
others to environmental strategists Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus'
paper entitled: The
Death of Environmentalism (DoE) as a way to jar them into
thinking in a new way about environmentalism. One of the ideas DoE suggests
is we support a new Apollo Project
(The Apollo Alliance)
on energy similar to the 1960's moon mission.
While that argument rages, take a look at the world's biggest
retailer and their version of an Apollo Project. WalMart is undertaking a
series of environmental
actions that will change a host of industries and possibly the definition
of a big box store. In October of 2005, CEO Lee Scott announced
a host of initiatives that would warm the heart of any environmentalist.
Among them are such items as investing $500 million annually in technologies
and innovation that will
greenhouse gases at all existing stores by 20% over the next seven years.
Increased fleet efficiency by 25% by 2008, reduce solid waste by 25% from
and clubs over the next three years. WalMart is also starting to sell some of
their house brand products using organic cotton and vegetables (albeit on
a limited basis). They have also committed to replacing PVC packaging for
their private brands within the next two years.
Finally, they have gathered
all of their suppliers and informed them that they will have to take back
when their product arrives at a WalMart store. In effect, WalMart will
drive a massive systems change in materials usage in manufacturing.
I'm watching this one very closely. I realize WalMart's timing on this commitment
is more than just coincidental. But if WalMart follows through, we will witness
a green minded sea-change in board rooms around the world.