Target Green

Wal-Mart unveils its green plans, again

Wal-Mart released a report yesterday that defines initiatives to improve its efforts on the environment, health care, diversity, sourcing, and sustainability. In what could be described as a preemptive PR tactic, the mega retailer acknowledges that it isn’t perfect in any of these areas.

“We are proud of the good progress we are making in a number of areas and we understand that we still have more work to do,” Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, stated in a release.

Yet CNN says, the report mostly reiterates many green initiatives the company has already announced, and has been met with mixed results from environmental groups:

Environmental Defense said, however, that Wal-Mart must provide more data and context in the sustainability report. For example, it said, the report lists new low-flow sinks that cut water use in some store bathrooms, but does not specify how many stores use the technology and what water use was before the installations.

“Our takeaway is that over the last two years, Wal-Mart has built the foundation for a robust environmental program with many innovative and potentially transformational projects,” Environmental Defense said.

On the other side, a coalition of 23 environmental and human rights groups that issued a report earlier this year critical of Wal-Mart’s efforts said it still believes Wal-Mart is simply too big and too reliant on global sourcing and shipping to be green.

“Our overall argument is that even if Wal-Mart achieved all of its stated goals, the company’s business model is inherently unsustainable,” said Sarah Anderson from the Institute for Policy Studies, one of the coalition groups along with union-backed WakeUpWalMart, Friends of the Earth and The Cornucopia Institute.

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