Wal-Mart's Sustainability Network Focuses on the Supply Chain

In mid-July Wal-Mart's Sustainable Value Network pulled together global leaders to discuss how the supply chain can affect environmental change. Attendees included Lorraine Bolsinger of GE, Stewart Muller of Philips Consumer Electronics, a representative of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Wal-Mart's CEO Lee Scott and hundreds of suppliers.

"We are all passionate about making real progress regarding the environment," said Scott. "By working together, we can help each other save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pass the savings on to our customers. Sustainability is good for the environment, and it's also good for business."

Focusing on actions that are currently being implemented, Steve Varon, president of Dana Undies, discussed how his company is working with Wal-Mart on energy efficiency initiatives, and as a result, has been able to significantly reduce its energy costs. GE and Wal-Mart are exploring ways to deploy more efficient lighting, especially LEDs and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Each of Wal-Mart's 14 Sustainable Value Networks—the teams responsible for managing the sustainability of the various aspects of the business, such as packaging, global logistics, apparel and seafood—provided updates and shared lessons learned regarding their efforts to improve the company's carbon footprint.

Others who participated in this meeting included former Vice President Al Gore; Jim Ball, Executive Director of the Evangelical Environmental Network; Edward Shirley, President of Procter & Gamble North America; Paul Rice, CEO of TransFair USA; Rich Noll, CEO of Sara Lee Apparel; and John Lesher, President of Paramount Classics.

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