Green Up on Aisle Two
1. What do you think of Wal-Mart’s green initiatives? Will it ever be able to achieve the reputation of being environmentally friendly? Discuss. Most students will be surprised to find that Wal-Mart has taken the steps to become a greener company. Wal-Mart still has a bad reputation for putting small, local companies out of business. In addition, Wal-Mart is a mass merchandiser and does not limit itself to environmentally friendly products like other stores with a reputation for being green. To see Wal-Mart as green may be a stretch for students. The answer to the second part of this question lies in its goals. Wal-Mart strategy is based on driving down costs to sell products at a competitive price. Green companies are not typically associated with being low costs. 2. Why do you think suppliers might be reluctant to be involved in this initiative? How might that reluctance be addressed? Although it said supplier participation was not mandatory, does Wal-Mart appear to be “forcing” suppliers to participate? On its face, this looks like a green program for Wal-Mart, but in reality the cost of this program is placed on its suppliers. While Wal-Mart has not ‘forced’ suppliers to cooperate, being that Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer they do exert a good deal of influence over supplier behavior. Suppliers may end up being caught between the becoming more green and fit with the Wal-Mart initiative and pricing themselves into a position where they are unable to make a profit.
3. Why do you think it’s important for Wal-Mart to collaborate with other green-minded organizations? Wal-Mart is a global company and as such receives a lot of pressure from governments and customers around the world to cut back on pollution/ waste and take steps to preserve the environment. Also, as a retailer, products that Wal-Mart carries are not made by the company (with the exception of their store brands). If Wal-Mart wants to be seen as a green...
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