10/30/2005

Wal-Mart Seeks to Save Energy

Wal-Mart's chief executive announced specific environmental goals to reduce energy use in its stores. Their goals are to increase the fuel efficiency of the truck fleet by 25% over the next three years and double it within ten years, invest $500 million in technologies that will reduce greenhouse gases from stores and distribution centers by 20% over the next seven years, and they also want to design a new store within four years that is at least 25% more energy efficient. Wal-Mart is also pressuring thousands of companies worldwide to follow their lead. Most critics said that while this is an admirable gesture to save energy Wal-Mart is just trying to divert attention away from their image problems. I think that they really do care about the envoronment, but maybe they are trying to divert attention away from the lousy wages they offer.

5 comments:

Connor said...

Whether they are trying to mask the crappy reputation they have been receiving lately or not, Wal-Mart's efforts are notable. It would be interesting to see how many of those critics are from companies that are not doing anything to benefit the environment. I think Wal-Mart is displaying an important concept in business and that is to spend money now in research and development, in order to minimize costs or maximize profits in the future.

Bob said...

I think Wal-Mart only cares about numero uno. I did a research project last year on Wal-Mart and found that they are sucking the life out of most of the companies that sell their products in Wal-Mart stores. Unfortunately we love the fact that we can save money by shopping at Wal-Mart, but because they have become such a world powerhouse in business they are draining the profits of a lot of good companies. Doing business with Wal-Mart has become a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for most companies.

Logan said...

I don't think that it has anything to do with trying to divert attention away from their image problems. And I personally don't think they care that much about the environment either. By saving energy they are reducing costs! Ya sure, they will be dumping a bunch of money into technologies to reduce greenhouse gases, but at the bottom of their grand efforts is cost consciousness. They didn't become the largest company in the world by not investing in cost-cutting strategies and that is exactly what this strategy is!

Savannah said...

I think that Wal-Mart are doing what is best for them. They have had a reputation for that in the past and I don't think that these changes will do much for that. But any change to help the environment will be good, even if it doesn't do a lot for Wal-Mart's reputation.

Dr. Tufte said...

I think Logan and Savannah have this right: maybe they're just trying to save money, because that's what Wal-Mart strives to do across the board.

The problem with Bob's comment - that Wal-Mart is sucking other firms dry - is that it's meaning is different if we put it in context. Suppose Wal-Mart didn't suck those vendors dry: the vendors would be better off. Would Wal-Mart? Probably not, but we can't say for sure. Would consumers be worse off? Definitely. In sum, I think it is perfectly legitimate to accuse Wal-Mart of this behavior, but it has to be joined to the idea that consumers get most of the benefit of that. Wal-Mart is the wingman for the consumer.