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Walmart An Environmentalist? March 19, 2007

Posted by Elaine in Business-Society Issues, Consumers, environment, monopoly, Public Interest.

This is actually dated two months back, but it’s relatively new news to me. Apparently Walmart is trying to clean their image up as a unmitigated, corporate evil into.. an environmentalist leader. In the works are the plans to become the largest user of solar energy. More than a year ago, Mr. Scott, the company’s chief executive, began reaching out to some of environmental groups, telling them that Wal-Mart, long regarded as an environmental offender,

Wanted to become a leader on issues like fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

Walmart is trying to put energy efficient light bulbs into 100 million homes. These bulbs use 75 percent less electricity, lasts 10 times longer, produces 450 pounds fewer greenhouse gases from power plants, and saves consumers $30 over the life of each bulb. The only problem is that these bulbs are eight times as expensive as a regular light bulb, and it also gives off a harsher light. As of today, only six percent of American households use these energy efficient bulbs.

Walmart is such a powerful company that it has a lot of say in what it wants to happen. General Electric expressed their concern regarding these light bulbs and told Walmart to take this revolution slowly. Walmart’s buyer responded, “We are going there. You decide if you are coming with us.” Not a lot of companies can get away with being so snippy to General Electric, the second largest company, but Walmart got its way and are now a strong advocate of these energy efficient bulbs. It is even working with Yahoo and Google to see how they can help promote these bulbs.

How do you feel about this situation? Is this an effort to improve Wal-Mart’s appeal to the more affluent consumers the chain must win over to keep growing in the United States or is this a genuine attempt to help our environment?

I believe Walmart is trying to promote its image, but at the same time helping out our ecosystem. They cannot possibly be making much profit off these energy efficient bulbs, but they are pushing for its success anyways. It is their first step in taking a positive direction.



1. Charley S - March 20, 2007

I think this is a win win, for both Wal mart and the environment. Yes Wal mart is going to benefit from the positive PR that it so rarely gets, but the fact that they are going well out of their way to help the environment is admirable, especially when they had to fight GE on the issue. If more companies follow Wal marts example depends on the profitability involved. Smaller companies will be more unable to change because they may not have enough capital.

2. Lady - March 20, 2007

I like to see this effort that Walmart is making, even if it is mainly motivated by their own self-interest. But at the same time, I wonder how quickly consumers will catch onto these energy efficient bulbs. Eight times the original price is a significant difference and I think consumers (affluent or not) will be reluctant to make the switch automatically. I wonder if the costs of manufacturing the bulbs can somehow be reduced in order to provide a more attractive price for the consumer. Is this possible? Of course Walmart can take this risk if the bulbs are not profitable, but as Charlie said smaller companies will not be able to. Is there really a market out there for these energy efficient bulbs?

3. kurniawan - January 27, 2009

hmm wow its share knowledge

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