Wal-Mart: Making Its Suppliers Go Green

BusinessWeek recently posted an article about Wal-Mart, and how it basically laid down the gauntlet to its suppliers in China in regards to greening their operations.

"Because of Wal-Mart's size and scale, [H. Lee] Scott's pledge rippled across a vast swath of China's manufacturing sector. The company buys some $9 billion worth of goods every year from some 20,000 vendors.

The scope of Wal-Mart's green goals is also without parallel. The mandate requires Chinese factories to track great volumes of data on energy use and to make it available for audits. Wal-Mart's top 200 factories have to become 20% more energy-efficient by 2012. "Many Western companies can't track their own energy consumption," says Andrew Winston, consultant and author of the book Green to Gold, who attended the meeting. "Getting Chinese companies to track these kinds of operations data takes [Wal-Mart] many steps forward."

Scale is the most important aspect to changing the discussion on sustainability from cost to value and you don't get any bigger than Wal-Mart. As the two sustainable stores we designed for them near the end of their test cycle, it excites me to see a company of this scope head in such a positive direction. Of all the sustainable strategies tested in these two stores, it will be intriguing to see which products, and sustainable design features they keep and use in their stores moving forward.

Sustainable Wal-Mart McKinney TexasAs you can see in the article, Wal-Mart expects green to pay off in a big way - through operational, maintenance and energy savings - and expects those savings to translate into additional savings for their customers. I look forward to seeing how this all pans out.