How Walmart Became a Catalyst for Change

Aron Cramer, CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, explains how Walmart has used its market power to become an agent of change and an industry leader in what he calls "sustainable excellence."

 

 

What's the Big Idea?


As Aron Cramer, CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, explains, it wasn't so long ago that Walmart was the company every pro-environmental advocate loved to hate. (These opposing forces aren't exactly on a Honeymoon just yet. Walmart remains a powerful symbol for many of our wasteful culture of consumption by the nature of the products the company sells.) And yet, Walmart is also a key indicator of how much the political and economic calculus has changed over just the last decade or so, where businesses have found just how much the profit motive is aligned with the concerns of the Environmental movement. After all, waste is waste, and it no longer serves any company any good to be wasteful. The stakes are too high as the global economy transitions into a low-carbon economy.

What's the Significance?

Never before, Cramer argues, have the demands of business and humanity's responsibility to the environment been so closely aligned. N.B. Walmart has not, and does not claim that it is a green company. Indeed, to make such a claim would be a sure sign of so-called greenwashing. What Walmart does claim--and the company is demanding its many suppliers to follow suit--is that their business strategy is to dramatically reduce their overhead in terms of wasted energy costs. Turns out this is good for business, good for the environment, and Walmart has become a global leader in sustainable business practices. What a difference a decade makes!

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 reasons to be optimistic in 2019


Rwanda is pioneering the regulation and use of drones - such as delivering blood

Photo: STEPHANIE AGLIETTI/AFP/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs

Even the optimists among us would have to admit 2018 was a challenging year. The fractured world that became the focus of our 2018 Annual Meeting a year ago came under further pressure from populist rhetoric and rising nationalist agendas. At the same time, the urgent need for coordinated global action in areas such as climate change, inequality and the impact of automation on jobs became more intense.

Keep reading Show less

Brain study finds circuits that may help you keep your cool

Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP/ Getty Images
Mind & Brain

MIT News

The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.

Keep reading Show less

15 surprising life lessons from a highly successful 80-year-old

You can use these to get ahead, no matter your age.

Personal Growth

Blackstone's Byron Wien, Vice Chairman of Private Wealth Solutions Group, gave a speech laying out the wisdom he learned during his 80 years. Here are 15 of Wien's best life lessons, which teach us about improving our productivity, sleep, burnout avoidance, and everything in between.

Keep reading Show less