Friday, August 04, 2006

Let us pause in our hate of Wal-Mart, shall we?

I don't go political very often, so bear with me. First off, I should preface by saying that Earl and I went to see An Inconvenient Truth and it has changed our thinking and more importantly, our behavior drastically. Global warming is such a touchy subject with some people, but consider this. In a review of articles written on the subject over the past ten years, 50% of the articles in the mainstream press express doubt regarding the reality of global warming. In the scientific press, none of the articles express that view point. I do not believe there is a scientist alive who works in the field of climate who doesn't see the truth of what our greenhouse gasses are doing to our planet.

So, my point of this post is not to argue whether global warming is "real" or not. It is to give kudos to an unlikely business. That business is Wal-Mart. I read a fascinating article by Michael Grunwald of the Washington Post entitled "How can Americans warm to the idea of acting globally?" in my local Sunday paper. I am going to quote from it here:

But for action, try Bentonville, Ark., where Wal-Mart chief executive H. Lee Scott Jr. announced this month that his company would double the energy efficiency of its 7,000-truck feet in a decade, reduce waste from its U.S. stores by 25 percent in three years and design a prototype store that will reduce greenhouse emissions by 30 percent.

"Have you ever known Wal-Mart not to follow through on a commitment of this kind?" one speaker asked. "I have not."

The speaker was Al Gore. Indeed, Wal-Mart is already cutting emissions, which is a big deal, because the company is the largest private consumer of electricity on the planet. Wal-Mart has reduced its fuel use 8 percent by preventing its trucks from idling, saving $25 million over the past year while cutting 100,000 metric tons of emissions. It recently began buying organic cotton, and all 3,700 of its U.S. stores are using energy-efficient light bulbs. Wal-Mart is so big that a slight reduction on the packaging of one of its toy lines saved the company $2.4 million last year by cutting trucking costs, while saving 1,000 barrels of oil and 3,800 trees.

Scott thinks waste reduction and energy efficiency are good for business as well as the Earth; he eventually wants his company to generate zero waste and use only renewable energy, and he wants his 60,000 suppliers to follow suit. That could drive the climate debate faster than years of congressional bloviation. And other sectors of corporate America are paying attention to climate as well.

Talk about flexing your power! I am not saying that they do everything right, but they sure are doing this right. Heh, just imagine how much electricity could be generated by putting solar panels on the roof of just one store! I am going to be writing a thank you letter to H. Lee Scott Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Executive Offices, 608 SW Eight Street, Bentonville, AR 72712-6999. Anyone else want to write too?

1 friends said....:

  1. Very interesting. I would like to see if them do much more in regards to electricity, esp. since they are the *biggest* users. A good start would be all Wal Marts in CA and Western stores as they get the most solar activity.

    Still, I'm glad to see progress...still, am reluctant to go to Wal Mart too often (that whole creating most of their products in China, coincidently the most polluted country in the world).

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