I’ve been a Walmart Mom now for over 3 years and during that time period I’ve had the opportunity to get an inside look at Walmart. I’ve been to headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas 3 or 4 times and I’ve had the oppotunity to meet head executives and have discussions with them about how they can better their store/business – and they actually listened!
One thing I’ve gotten to hear a great deal about is how Walmart has accepted that they are one of the world’s largest corporations and that they have increased responsibility because of that. They have come to realize that the world is watching them “under the microscope” and their actions will be noticed. So, they’ve decided to use that for good by trying to do better – to set a good example – specifically in sustainability.
Each year, Walmart has a Sustainability meeting where they share their initiatives, new goals, and goals met as they pertain to sustainability. I had the opportunity to watch the live webcast and I want to share a little bit about what I learned.
When I was first “tagged” as a green blogger I wrestled with that label. I don’t consider myself that green, actually. When questioned about my green characteristics my reasoning is always something like, “its what is best for me,” “its what is best for my family,” or “it saves me money to do it this way.” For example, my family eats organic because I believe it is healthier. It also happens to be better for the earth since organic farming means less chemicals in our soil, in our water (from run-off), and in our food. That is just a bonus. Another example: we compost our food scraps. Sure, it is great for our environment and it creates less waste in my trash bags but the real reason? It saves me money and it is great for our garden. Cloth diapering, line drying, yep, they are both earth-friendly. Saves energy? Check. Saves trash? Check. They are also both very frugal options – that’s why I have done/still do both.
I guess that is why I relate to Walmart. We have this in common. We both want to save money and live better and in doing those things we also happen to be making choices that better our environment. Charles Holley, EVP and CFO at Walmart said “it is a win-win-win-win. The customer wins, the associate wins, the shareholders win, and the environment wins.”
One example he gave was the CFL light bulbs. Walmart set a goal to sell 100 million CFL light bulbs in the first two years that they were available and they beat that goal by 2 months. By the end of 2010 Walmart had sold 460 billion CFL light bulbs. That equals saving the Walmart customers 15 billion dollars in utility costs. That is the same as saving the emissions for 25 million cars!!
Another example is that they set out to improve their fleet efficiency (trucking all those shipments to the stores). They did improve their efficiency – so much so that they drove 28 million fewer miles (less emissions and less fuel consumption) BUT there were 65 million MORE cases delivered! In 2011, $75 million were saved due to fleet efficiency. And, that is just one example (of many) of how Walmart cut their operational costs, which in turn cuts the cost for the customer, saves the Shareholders dollar, and this decision also helped our environment in a big way.
One of the other things I loved hearing over and over in the meeting was how it was the associates that were coming up with these fantastic ways to save the customer money AND to be more sustainable. They are the ones working in the trenches day after day and see where Walmart can make better/wiser decisions AND I am always impressed at how corporate Walmart is interested in and acts on what they learn from their associates – the little guys.
This was a fantastic synthesis of all the ways Walmart is trying to become more green all the while staying true to their slogan of saving more and living better. There was more awesome news to share, more than I can write in one post, so if you’d like to learn more check out the whole webcast. The 90 minute webcast is up and available for anyone who would like to watch it: Walmart Sustainability Milestone Meeting 2012
*Disclosure: I am a Walmart Mom. This post is sponsored by Walmart. Walmart has provided me with product and/or compensation in exchange for my time and efforts in creating this post. My participation is voluntary. As always, my opinion is my own.