Wal-Mart kept NGO partnerships on the DL

March 13, 2008

leescott1.jpgWhen Wal-Mart decided it needed an environmental strategy, it asked for help from some of its biggest critics.

The only thing is, the non-governmental organizations it looked to for advice on building a sustainable business didn’t want to ruin their green cred — or jeopardize their relationships with their donors — by admitting that they were working with Wal-Mart.

“We had to guarantee them that we would not ever tell anybody that they were there,” Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott said during an appearance at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference in Goleta, California.

Since then, Scott said NGOs have been critical to helping the company understand issues such as sustainable fisheries and carbon dioxide emissions as well as pushing it to go farther in thinking green.

“They are more aggressive than we are, and they push us to go further, but they also have not been as judgmental about our failures as I was afraid they would be,” Scott said.

Next, Scott said Wal-Mart will call on NGOs to help its Chinese suppliers clean up their act.

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Looks like the start of something. They should plug in their energy consumption at http://www.openeco.org to review each of their stores’ carbon emissions, post them to the internet and show us how their initiative is lowering waste.