Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wal-Mart CEO Scott to Retire

The news that Lee Scott is retiring in February 2009 as CEO of Wal-Mart came as a surprise to many. Scott has championed Wal-Mart's vision of environmental sustainability since 2005; laying out three sustainability goals: to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain our resources and the environment. The company has achieved many noteworthy accomplishments in these areas.

The company has established Sustainable Value Networks, The Personal Sustainability Project for employees, the Sustainable Packaging Scorecard, has increased purchases of local and organic products, and continues working to green the 60,000+ suppliers that make up its supply chain. Wal-Mart has also announced a wind power purchase with Duke Energy that will provide up to 15% of the energy requirements for stores and other facilities in Texas. And the company has most recently announced the formation of a Green Jobs Council to foster the development of green jobs in the U.S.

There have been many other pioneers of socially and/or environmentally sustainable business models and operations. Yet by virtue of the sheer size and the magnitude of Wal-Mart's reach, Scott's influence in bringing "green" to mainstream business can't be denied - he has helped bring "green" into the lexicon of everyday business.

Wal-Mart has yet to address its social sustainability issues with the same fervor. But Scott recently addressed suppliers in China and "outlined a series of aggressive goals and expectations to build a more environmentally and socially responsible global supply chain."

We are all hopeful that Wal-Mart will continue its leadership in green (and sustainability) efforts under new CEO Mike Duke.

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