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The Green Life: Wal-Mart: The New Green Police

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July 16, 2009

Wal-Mart: The New Green Police

Shopping for the earth While the phrase “giant corporation” might not connote eco-bliss, today the largest giant corporation of them all announced its intentions to use its power for the greener good. Wal-Mart will require its manufacturers to calculate the full environmental toll of making their products. As a result, every product’s environmental cost will eventually be displayed alongside their prices.

Considering that Wal-Mart’s sales last year added up to a higher amount than the GDP of 200 of the world’s 228 countries, the move will significantly impact how just about every company thinks about the environment, and communicates to their shoppers about their eco-efforts. The first labels won’t be in stores for several years, but the message is out to Wal-Mart’s 60,000 suppliers: Sustainability is now part of competition for customers.

Companies will be rated using a sustainability index being developed by a consortium that includes manufacturers and competing retailers. Faculty at leading universities are also involved in creating the index.

To watch a web stream of Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Milestone meeting, click here.

--Sarah F. Kessler

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