Wal-Mart to Rate Products’ Impact on Environment

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mkrishnan, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/business/energy-environment/16walmart.html?_r=1&hpw

    Walmart has a long way to go to rid itself of its evil empire status, if that's even possible, but this sounds like an interesting post-carbon economy kind of idea. These kinds of indices are always fraught with problems but providing some kind of metrics may still help consumers make good decisions. :)
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #2
    They already do this on their styrofoam cups at Sam's Club stores. They determined according to the side of the cup, that it was better for the environment in a total sense looking at production and waste effects. I am dead serious about this too.
     
  3. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #3
    The world is turning upside down. The sky is falling... something. Wal-Mart also came out in support of public health care.

    Next thing you know Wal-Mart workers will be unionized?? (naw, they can't make money from THAT).
     
  4. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #4
    I would think that most corporations would support universal health care. It's a huge amount of money they pay.
     
  5. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040

    GfPQqmcRKUvP

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    #5
    Like you said, I don't know if they can ever rid themselves of their evil empire status. It's too bad, because it's quite an interesting company. On one side they import heavily and strong-arm their suppliers (that's just capitalism I guess), while on the other they give their store managers great leeway when it comes to charitable causes. I'm referring to their response to Hurricane Katrina, it was absolutely phenomenal.

    Also worth considering is that while a lot of their products were made overseas in some of the most environmentally unsustainable ways, they save a ton of resources through their extensive use of automation, centralized distribution locations, and the basic advantage of economies of scale. It's always less impactful to ship/move/carry/stock/produce 10 units of something at once than 1 unit 10 separate times. Each recurring cost impacts them a lot because of their size, so they are constantly trying to optimize their supply chain and stuff like that (basically, they are the textbook case on how to supply goods to people who want them).
     
  6. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #6
    Wal-Mart was also heavily involved in one of the organic yogurt brands (Liberté I believe) getting a much stronger foothold in the market. I think, like just about anything, there are two sides to this; a legitimate "evil" empire side, and a legitimate "good" philanthropic side, and that it's of utmost importance to recognize both.
     
  7. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Wal-Mart was behind the push for CFLs because it made business sense. I figure this does as well, as there are some seriously pretentious people who call themselves green.
     
  8. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #8
    I guess it seems unlikely. "Wal-Mart's enormity" indeed. A New York Times reporter simply must know what that word means, so I am compelled to assume it's a subtle jab.

    Surely the NYT has a similar guide.

    More on topic, I confess I get a little suspicious when Wal-Mart starts talking about social good. After all these years it's just out of character. With full recognition that I might be reading too much into it, it often seems to me their social actions are less about doing the right thing for its own sake and more about giving right-wing politicians ammunition for the claim that voluntary private action is all that's needed to address certain serious problems. After all, if the largest private employer in the nation does something, that's basically got the problem licked, right? In the meantime, Wal-Mart implements the program only so far as they feel like, and reels it back in to boost profits when the political heat is off.

    To reiterate, I acknowledge that's probably unfair of me.
     
  9. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #9
    I wonder what their reasoning is. They supposedly made a big push into organic food last year but I haven't hear how that is turning out. It also seems their ad campaigns are moving to more of a middle class target. It could simply be that they're trying to address the concerns of the conscientious middle class. Their solar projects make sense from a business aspect so that's no big surprise.

    I think I'm concerned that Wal Mart will try to distort the numbers and use it against their competition.
     
  10. toxictrix macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Wal-Mart should rate their own effect on the environment.
     
  11. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    The underlying reason, of course, is profits. The sole motivation of any publicly held company is to produce the best financial statements and returns for investors. Green and organic are two terms that the middle class are increasingly aware of and thinking about, so yes, they are addressing the concerns of the conscientious middle class. Wal-Mart has realized that this is key to keeping and gaining costumers in the future and that ultimately, with the slightly increased prices green and organic products command, Wal-Mart can possibly increase its revenue and possibly profits depending on the price Wal-Mart secures the goods at. Its the same Wal-Mart model (force suppliers to supply what we want, how we want it, at our price), but with green goods.

    The interesting thing is, Wal-Mart could have a substantial good environmental impact by greening its stores and making suppliers supply green and organically produced products. If it turns out to be profitable, and if Wal-Mart is doing it, it probably will be, they'll lessen their impact while continuing their same tactics.
     
  12. steve knight Suspended

    steve knight

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    #12
    wallyworld doing it will get others doing it.
     
  13. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #13
    To become less evil, they need to start paying their employees a living wage....
     
  14. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #14
    Given that I was in a Wal-Mart tonight, I can tell you that the pickings are slim. There's not much to choose from, and IMO they're far overpriced. Case in point - bell peppers for sale. Shrinkwrapped, undersized, blessed by Mother Gaia organic pepper - $2. Regular pepper - 75¢.

    I still don't buy into the whole "organic" thing. Right now it just seems like a way to slap a markup on goods that SWPLers will pay with a smile.
     
  15. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #15
    Do you enjoy the taste of food, or are you a shoveler? To me, almost all organic foods have more intense flavor. For almost two years now, I've bought only organic chicken. I can't stand to eat battery raised chicken anymore, there's simply no flavor to it.

    If you've ever eaten an organically grown Red Delicious apple, you'll wonder why you ever ate a non organic one. Eating organically started with avoidance of chemicals but turned into a matter of flavor.

    That, in my mind, is another big reason for obesity, food that tastes of nothing.
     
  16. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #16
    I once mistakenly bought some organic apples, paid nearly twice as much and couldn't tell a difference in flavor at all. I've tried other organic foods and couldn't tell much of a difference either, I'm not entirely sold on organic yet.
     
  17. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #17
    I enjoy the taste of good food. Living with my mother while growing up I learned to appreciate everything involved in real cooking. Very little processed crap in the house, most everything made from scratch. Not surprisingly, I was a lot healthier while living with her. Living with my father, on the other hand, was a case study in fresh being a 4-letter word. I lived there for most of my childhood, and still cannot remember a time when the table found a vegetable that was not sickly canned green beans on it. Even something simple like spaghetti sauce, which is easy as pie to make, had to come from Ragu and not actual tomatos.
     
  18. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Wal-Mart is actually one of the more proactive companies in the world. While many of their programs are designed to save money the side effect is they do well for the environment.

    From having the semi trucks being tweaked for better mileage, better algorithms for loading and shipping products, to complete change out of lighting in their stores.
     
  19. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Why don't you hold Target to that standard? They pay less. So do many other major retailers. It was already proven that it is easier to qualify for benefits in Wal-Mart than most of the competitors.

    But parrots don't know facts, only crackers.



    Paying a living wage is not the responsibility of business. Whose responsibility is it to ensure you can get a better job than working at Wal-Mart? What about those working at grocery stores? Fun fact, friends son works for Kroger - unionized - his pay is scaled by time worked. No matter how hard he works his pay cannot be adjusted over someone with more time.
     
  20. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #20
    Ah, but it is obvious that someone will have to take those positions at Wal-mart - are they just doomed?

    While I can agree that personal effort should be able to transfer to upward-mobility in the work-force, there will always be the lower-rung of jobs that have to be filled by someone. Not everyone can be a "winner", as to even define such, requires a comparative "loser".

    To leave these people to their fate, lacks both compassion and economic sense.

    I apologize for veering off-topic.

    On topic, I can always applaud the instances when business ethics dovetails with progressive ideas that have potential for larger societal benefits.
     

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