Global environmental challenges
Just last month, Walmart announced that it would be moving to eliminate non-biodegradable plastic bags from stores across the United States to reduce their collection in landfills. While they’ve demonstrated positive green initiatives, this week there’s been accusations of hypocrisy because they’ve been passing off a harmful, manufactured textile as sustainable.
Environmental advocates had been applauding Walmart for their plastic bag reduction goals and the installation of more energy-efficient systems. For example, coolers that only light up when a shopper’s presence is detected. So this new accusation from the Federal Trade Commission comes at a bad time.
Walmart, along with many other big box and chain stores across the United States, has been selling products as bamboo that are actually rayon. It is a textile shrouded in debate, because it contains cellulose that is naturally occurring. However, it does require an extensive manufacturing process to produce.
Regardless of whether rayon is natural or not; it’s definitely not bamboo. This labelling misleads consumers who think that they’re purchasing clothing and other home goods made from one of the most sustainable materials on the planet.
from The Great Debate:
-- Aron Cramer is the president and CEO of BSR, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability. He is also coauthor of the forthcoming book Sustainable Excellence (Rodale 2010). The views expressed are his own. --
(Updated on December 17th to correct figure in McKinsey study in paragraph 7.)
As world leaders seem uncertain about whether a binding treaty is even possible at Copenhagen, it’s important to remember what was already clear: Twelve days in Copenhagen were never going to solve climate change anyway.
from Shop Talk:
Wal-Mart, which helped promote the adoption of those funny-looking "green" lightbulbs, is making more room in its Sam's Club warehouse stores for environmentally friendly products -- including a water-saving toilet that has one button for flushing liquids and another for flushing solids.
Employees at a Sam's Club in the discounter's home town in Bentonville, Arkansas, have emptied shelves of things like power tools to make way for a variety of green products. Similar efforts have taken place in Sam's Clubs across the United States.
That bad rap for plastic (not to mention soaring prices on the materials that go into making it) has sent consumer products companies scrambling to trim down package sizes and create less waste. We’ve already seen concentrated laundry detergent in smaller bottles, and even Wal-Mart is cutting back on plastic shopping bags.
When 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.