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Wal-Mart’s Sustainable Product Index

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Abstract

On 16 July 2009, Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke announced an ambitious plan to develop a “Sustainable Product Index” that would enable customers to access reliable, standardised information on where its products came from, what resources they required for manufacture and delivery, and how they should be disposed of and/or re-cycled. He went on to explain –

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As I look back at our progress over the past few years, I think the most difficult challenge has been to measure the sustainability of our products. It’s in this area that I believe we can truly accelerate and broaden our efforts…with a more elegant, research-driven approach.

Mike Duke, President and CEO, Wal-Mart (Remarks prepared for Mike Duke at Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Milestone Meeting, Bentonville, Arkansas, July 16, 2009, Walmartstores.com/9279)

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Ibid.

  2. 2.

    Wal-Mart press release, Walmartstores.com/9137

  3. 3.

    Wal-Mart press release, Walmartstores.com/9292

  4. 4.

    See Rosabeth Moss Kanter, “Wal-Mart’s Environmental Game-Changer,” blogs.hardvardbusiness.org/kanter/2009/07

  5. 5.

    Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise, Harvard University Press, 2009, pp. 11–13.

  6. 6.

    See Robert Slater, The Wal-Mart Triumph: Inside the World’s #1 Company, Portfolio, 2003, p. 25.

  7. 7.

    Sam Walton with John Huey, Sam Walton: Made in America, Bantam Books, 1993, pp. 32–33.

  8. 8.

    Slater, op. cit., pp. 28–41.

  9. 9.

    Susan Strasser, “Woolworth to Wal-Mart: Mass Merchandising and the Changing Culture of Consumption”, in Wal-Mart: The Face of Twentieth Century Capitalism, Nelson Lichtenstein (ed.), pp. 52–53

  10. 10.

    Walton, op. cit., p. 12.

  11. 11.

    Ellen I. Rosen, “Wal-Mart: the New Retail Colossus”, in Wal-Mart World, Stanley D. Brunn (ed.), p. 93.

  12. 12.

    David Karjanen, “The Wal-Mart Effect and the New Face of Capitalism”, in Lichtenstein, op. cit., pp. 154–155.

  13. 13.

    Rosen, loc. cit.

  14. 14.

    See Edna Bonacich and Jake B. Wilson, “Global Production and Distribution: Wal-Mart’s Global Logistics Empire”, in Brunn, op. cit., pp. 229–237.

  15. 15.

    Walton, op. cit., p. 207.

  16. 16.

    Moreton, op. cit., pp. 40–41, 89.

  17. 17.

    A. Jane Dunnett and Stephen J. Arnold, “Falling Prices, Happy Faces: Organizational Culture at Wal-Mart”, in Brunn, op. cit., pp. 82–84.

  18. 18.

    Moreton, op. cit., pp. 1–5.

  19. 19.

    See Walton, op. cit., pp. 282–294.

  20. 20.

    Moreton, op. cit., p. 82.

  21. 21.

    Slater, op. cit., p. 202.

  22. 22.

    See Bill Quinn, How Wal-Mart is Destroying America (and the World) and What You Can Do About It, Ten Speed Press, 2005, pp. 1–26.

  23. 23.

    See Liza Featherstone, “Wal-Mart’s P.R. War,” Salon.com, 2 August 2005.

  24. 24.

    Charles Fishman, “The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know: Why Low Prices Have a High Cost”, Fast Company, December 2003, p. 73.

  25. 25.

    Michael Barbaro, “A New Weapon for Wal-Mart: A War Room,” The New York Times, 1 November, 2005.

  26. 26.

    Charles Fishman, The Wal-Mart Effect, Penguin Press, 2006, p. 62.

  27. 27.

    See Yukio Aoyama and Guido Schwarz, “The Myth of Wal-Martization: Retail Globalization and Local Competition in Germany and Japan”, in Brunn, op. cit., pp. 280–286.

  28. 28.

    See Tracy Gray-Barkin, “Southern California’s Wal-Mart Wars”, Social Policy, Vol. 35, Number 1 (Fall 2004).

  29. 29.

    Marc Gunther, “The Green Machine”, Fortune, July 31, 2006.

  30. 30.

    Ibid.

  31. 31.

    Ibid.

  32. 32.

    Barbaro, loc. cit.

  33. 33.

    See Jeffrey Goldberg, “Selling Wal-Mart: Can the company co-opt liberals?” New Yorker, April 2, 2007.

  34. 34.

    As cited by Kevin McCauley, “Katrina Relief Lifts Wal-Mart’s Image”, O’Dwyer’s PR Services Report, October 2005.

  35. 35.

    Barboro, loc. cit.

  36. 36.

    As cited in Gunther, op. cit., July 31, 2006.

  37. 37.

    See Erica L. Plambeck and Lyn Denend, “Wal-Mart, a Case Study,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, spring 2008.

  38. 38.

    Pia Sarkar, “Wal-Mart’s World View: Giant Retailer Says It’s Ready to Tackle Hot-Button Issues,” San Fransisco Chronicle, 26 October, 2005.

  39. 39.

    Daniel McGinn, “Wal-Mart Hits the Wall,” Newsweek, 14 November, 2005.

  40. 40.

    Adam Werback, Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto, Harvard Business Press, 2009, pp. 157–158.

  41. 41.

    Ibid. pp. 35–36. Werback.

  42. 42.

    Ibid. pp. 132–135. Werback.

  43. 43.

    Ibid. pp. 92–118. Werback.

  44. 44.

    Goldberg, loc. cit.

  45. 45.

    Marc Gunther, “Corporate Ties Bedevil Green Groups”, Fortune, Nov. 14, 2008.

  46. 46.

    See Stuart L. Hart, Capitalism at the Crossroads: Aligning Business, Earth, and Humanity, Wharton School Publishing, 2007, pp. 7–21.

  47. 47.

    Ibid., pp. 102–103.

  48. 48.

    See “Enter the Triple Bottom Line”, in The Triple Bottom Line: Does it all add up?, Adrian Henriques and Julie Richardson (eds.), 2007, pp. 10–13.

  49. 49.

    Werbach, op. cit., p. 116.

  50. 50.

    See Erica L. Plambeck, “The Greening of Wal-Mart’s Supply Chain”, Supply Chain Management Review, 1 July, 2007.

  51. 51.

    Author interview with Assheton Carter, then of CI.

  52. 52.

    Ylan Q. Mui, “At Wal-Mart, ‘Green’ Has Various Shades”, Washington Post, Nov. 16, 2007.

  53. 53.

    Plambeck, loc. cit.

  54. 54.

    Plambeck, loc. cit

  55. 55.

    Kathee Rebernak, “What’s Wrong with Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Reporting”, www.sustainabilelifemedia.com, 2 Sept., 2008.

  56. 56.

    It’s Not East Being Green: The Truth About Wal-Mart’s Environmental Makeover, Wal-Mart Watch, Sept. 2007, p. 3.

  57. 57.

    Quotation cited in Stephanie Rosenbloom and Michael Barbaro, “Green-Light Specials, Now at Wal-Mart”, The New York Times, Jan. 25, 2009.

  58. 58.

    Hart, op. cit., pp. 102–103.

  59. 59.

    Marc Gunther, “Wal-Mart: the New FDA”, Fortune, July 16, 2008.

  60. 60.

    Julianne Pepitone, “Wal-Mart: $54 Million to Settle Workers’ Suit,” Money.CNN.com, Dec. 9, 2008.

  61. 61.

    “Gatineau Wal-Mart workers awarded contract”, The Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 8, 2008. No byline.

  62. 62.

    Anthony Mirhaydari, “Wal-Mart’s public relations disaster”, blogs.moneycentral.msn.com/2008/04/02

  63. 63.

    www.corpwatch.org/15416

  64. 64.

    Joel Makower, “Inside Walmart’s Sustainability Consortium”, www.wakeupwalmart.com/new/article/2343

  65. 65.

    See http://scp.eionet.europa.eu/themes/lca

  66. 66.

    See http://www.tececo.com/sustainability.life_cycle_analysis.php

  67. 67.

    Mark Rossi, “Reaching the Limits of Quantitative Life Cycle Assessment”, June 2004, http://www.healthybuilding.net/pvc/CPA_EC_LCA_Critique.html

  68. 68.

    See Daniel Goleman, “Wal-Mart Exposes the De-Value Chain”, blogs.hardvardbusiness.org/goleman/2009/07

  69. 69.

    Joel Makower, “Two Steps Forward: Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Index: the Hype and the Reality”, 17 Jul, 2009, http://www.tececo.com/sustainability.life_cycle_analysis.php

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Correspondence to Robert J. Crawford .

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Crawford, R.J., Smith, N.C. (2019). Wal-Mart’s Sustainable Product Index. In: Lenssen, G.G., Smith, N.C. (eds) Managing Sustainable Business. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1144-7_3

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