Wal-Mart's Sustainability Strategy

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The central problem for this case is: How can Wal-Mart improve its image and show consumers

that they are moving towards a sustainable future? We analyzed several key points in this case. The first

point we looked at was the transparency of Wal-Mart’s supply chain. Wal-Mart’s decisions and goals for

the future were vague and hidden from the public eye. Because of this factor, many opponents of Wal-

Mart have bashed out against the large corporation to say that Wal-Mart is not doing what they are

saying because they have kept their activities private. Their goals for the future were “aspirational but

non-specific.” Opponents to Wal-Mart deem these goals as “sufficiently vague to the relatively

meaningless.” Wal-Mart could publish specific and measurable goals to the public, but they do not want

to carry the risk of that goal not being reached. Not only is the transparency in Wal-Mart’s goals a

problem, but also the transparency in Wal-Mart’s supply chain. Although Wal-Mart has improved their

transparency in this field during the past few years (such as implementing the MSC certification program

in the seafood supply chain), Wal-Mart still has many more ways to improve their transparency. In

addition, we analyzed the response to Wal-Mart’s sustainability strategy. We realized that although Wal-

Mart is doing a lot of good of late, it is being offset by all of Wal-Mart’s growth (opening more stores =

more carbon dioxide emission). In addition, Wal-Mart does not have a full blown campaign of how they

are being more sustainable. None of the good Wal-Mart is doing is reaching consumer ears. Instead,

consumers are hearing about the criticisms. Only the people who search for Wal-Mart’s sustainability

strategy will find it. The rest of the consumers remain ignorant to Wal-Mart’s changes. Even Wal-Mart’s

employees do not understand the full extent of what Wal-Mart is doing. According to Jeff Kerbs, a

manager in...
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