Wal-Mart Says Environmental Efforts Necessary AND Profitable
Wal-Mart CEO announces major environmental sustainability investment and says the company will show preference to suppliers who aggressively reduce greenhouse emissions
PHILADELPHIA -- OCTOBER 27, 2005 -- In a move he says was inspired by the Hurricane Katrina devastation and the aid Wal-Mart was able to provide to victims, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott announced the company's goals to better impact the world, including major environmental-improvement initiatives.
In his speech announcing the company's plans for change, Scott said, "We should view the environment as Katrina in slow motion. ... As one of the largest companies in the world, with an expanding global presence, environmental problems are our problems."
Recognizing that what he and many others believed to be responsible recycling efforts were not enough, Scott outlined the company's big-picture goals:
1. To be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy.
2. To create zero waste.
3. To sell products that sustain the Earth's resources and environment.
"These goals are both ambitious and aspirational, and I'm not sure how to achieve them … at least not yet. This obviously will take some time," said Scott.
Scott also stated that the financial benefits to the company for improving its environmental footprint are significant. He cited the company's behemoth trucking fleet as one example. "We have one of the largest private fleets in the U.S. At today's prices, if we improve our fleet fuel mileage by just one mile per gallon, we can save over $52 million a year. … We will increase our fleet efficiency by 25 percent over the next 3 years and double it within 10 years. If implemented across our entire fleet by 2015, this would amount to savings of more than $310 million a year. Compare that to doing nothing. By being the leader, we will not only change our fleet, but eventually change trucks everywhere in the world. We will do ourselves a big favor, clean the air for our children, create new jobs, improve U.S. productivity, positively impact our country's energy security and more."