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Wal-Mart Sustainability Plan Requires An Upgrade

Date: 30 March 2010

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6 pages, 3 figures

Executive Summary

This case study is one in a series of Verdantix reports on corporate climate change plans. In January 2005 Wal-Mart launched its “Sustainability 360” plan. This plan contains commitments to source 100% of energy from renewable power, to achieve zero waste and to sell products that sustain Wal-Mart’s resources and the environment. The climate change elements of Wal-Mart’s plan focus on brand enhancement. The plan contains targets for greenhouse gas reduction and fuel efficiency based on initiatives like store retrofits and investments in fuel-saving technologies. Wal-Mart also aims to engage its 100,000 suppliers in the sustainability plan with its Sustainable Product Index (SPI) initiative. Wal-Mart’s sustainability strategy contains ambitious targets but the firm offers little evidence that it has delivered against its commitments. Questions remain on whether the SPI will drive supplier engagement and Wal-Mart’s business decisions over procurement and product choices.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WAL-MART CHASES AMBITIOUS SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
Climate Change Targets Shape Wal-Mart’s “Sustainability 360” Plan
Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Plan Focuses On Brand Enhancement
Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Plan Is Big On Ambition, Small On Execution

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Sustainable Value Networks Feed Ideas Up To The Wal-Mart CEO
Figure 2. CO2 Emissions Per Sales Decreased Between 2005 And 2008
Figure 3. Climate Change Plan Focuses On Cost Reduction And Brand Enhancement

COMPANIES MENTIONED

Apple, Bullfrog Power, Carbon Disclosure Project, Cisco, Dell, Deloitte, Environmental Defense Fund, HP, Kraft, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Tesco, Unilever