Friday, September 25, 2009

WALMART'S GREEN INTELLIGENCE: REALLY?

walmart

Daniel Goleman says, "Wal-Mart’s push to develop a sustainability index for the products it carries could prove to be a pivotal moment...."

15 Sep 2009: Analysis

Green Intelligence: Toward
True Ecological Transparency

Wal-Mart’s push to develop a sustainability index for the products it carries could prove to be a pivotal moment in the effort to make consumers aware of the environmental impacts of what they buy.

by daniel goleman

Two months ago, Wal-Mart made an announcement that could set off an ecological earthquake: The giant retailer disclosed it was cooperating with an academic consortium to develop a sustainability index for rating its hundreds of thousands of products.

Just weeks after Wal-Mart’s announcement, the Harvard Business Review featured a cover story proclaiming that sustainability has become the key to successful corporate strategy. The article, co-authored by the University of Michigan-based strategy maven C.K. Prahalad, proclaimed that the next business model must be green and touted ecological innovation as the coming driver of economic growth.

Wal-Mart has handed the environmental movement a new tool for ameliorating the human footprint: using an emerging generation of information systems to create market pressures to upgrade the ecological performance of commerce and industry. This strategy entails making life-cycle-assessment data for products transparent — that is, labeling them with a sound, independent rating so shoppers can easily take the ecological impacts into account as they decide what to buy.

Indeed, the Wal-Mart announcement has thrust what once seemed merely an intriguing idea into a market reality companies will have to deal with — not just in tomorrow’s strategic plans, but in today’s logistics and operations. Wal-Mart’s 100,000-plus suppliers (and the likes of Procter & Gamble counts as just one) will be required to reveal their products’ ecological impacts or have them dropped from the retailer’s stores worldwide.

continue reading at Yale's, "environment360".

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