Wal-Mart, ever the consummate business savvy operator, is following the ‘going green’ trend, however, it isn’t because they are worried about the environment a la Al Gore, rather, they do out of purely economic interests. According to former CEO Lee Scott, ‘going green’ was not about image, but rather about cutting costs in the long run.
Scott spoke at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference in California and revealed more plans to create environmentally sustainable Wal-Mart stores. This includes using more recycled materials in the construction process, building in more urban areas, and reducing packaging.
The idea behind Wal-Mart’s going green initiative was to cut down the retail giant’s carbon footprint, all the while also reaching out to increasingly environmentally conscious consumers, namely the 25-35 year old set who make up a large percentage of the company’s bottom line. Wal-Mart is known as the place to shop for cheap consumer goods – indeed, Americans don’t go to Wal-Mart for Bugattis, they go for Kias.
Keeping up appearances for Wal-Mart means seeking new ways to create revenue and cut spending while remaining competitive. Wal-Mart is currently the largest private consumer of electricity in the United States, which hasn’t exactly made environmentalists friends of the company. However, these new green measures have actually managed to gain Wal-Mart some true “green cred” from environmental groups.
The transition to a greener Wal-Mart continues, but still has a long way to go. In related news, the company recently announced plans to export millions of dollars worth of product from India. They hope to make India one of their main sourcing hubs due to cheaper costs and the potential for growth.
Written by Lani Shadduck