On the 24th of October 2005, Lee Scott, the CEO of Walmart, gave a speech that was a landmark signalling the shifting of the brand towards sustainable development: "21st century leadership". Placing it under the auspices of Sam Walton ("Walmart started out as an idea of one man, 43 years ago…”) he proposed, "to better define who we are in the world" and to assume its responsibilities as the "20th country of the world".
He then made the environment the main focal point: "as one of the largest companies in the world, environmental problems are OUR problems .. There are not two worlds out there, a Walmart world and some other world", and he fixed three objectives for Walmart:
To purchase supplies that were fully energy renewable
- To generate zero wastage
- To sell products that respected the environment and natural resources
What is Walmart two-and-a-half years down the line?
applies what Lee Scott called a "green
prism" with regard to all its actions. It has a holistic vision of
sustainable development – bringing about an integration of the various aspects
of diversity, wages, medical coverage for employees, relationships with
This is how the company decided to rethink its entire "supply chain" and make a series of commitments:
- To reduce by 5%, by the year 2010, the packaging of all the products sold – although, in doing so, it places heavy restrictions on brands.
- To identify chemical products harmful to health, and to work with the brands to eliminate them.
- To improve partnerships with American agricultural producers for "producing locally".
- To eliminate PVC blister packs for electric bulbs.
- To increase the sale of Oragnic EDLP products (Walmart is now is the n°1 global consumer of organic cotton).
- To sell only concentrated washing products.
All this places enormous pressure on the brands: they have to gradually conform to the new "sustainable" standards imposed by Walmart (minimizing packaging, elimination of harmful elements, using "sustainable" paper, etc.). Here, therefore, lies the real revolution: a distributor engages in a real collective mission and, given its weight, carries the other brands along with it.