There have been a lot of conversations about the “new green” Wal-Mart since CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. announced that he was transforming Wal-Mart into a green machine. Some skeptics are wondering whether it’s real or not.
Here are my two cents. (1) It’s real! (2) Wal-Mart will drive huge changes in American retail markets.
Since the days of Sam Walton driving his pick-up from store to store, Wal-Mart has been driven by bringing products to consumers at the best prices even if it drives their smaller competitors out of business and takes production to China. In recent years, they have been sharply criticized for their zeal in doing so. Last October Scott announced that he was going to transform the company into a leading edge retail force to eliminate waste, to use and sell renewable energy and offer sustainable products to its customers. Recently, they hosted a global warming presentation by former Vice President Al Gore. Scott and his executive team know that energy will be the big driver controlling price in decades ahead. They understand that if they don’t get a handle on energy usage and carbon footprints, costs will spiral out of control.
Wal-Mart is not stupid.
They are not procrastinating, questioning the science of global warming or lobbying to slow down public policy. Instead, they are listening to the scientists. They see where things are headed so they will re-invent their entire institution to beat others to the gate. My guess is once again Wal-Mart will win and win big.