Thursday, July 23, 2009

Can WalMart Ever Be Green?

They think they can.

I'm not an eco-perfectionist, and I'm not going to pick on WalMart. We've all heard it before, and they must be doing something right because millions of people still work there and millions of people still shop there. However, I think even the most devoted WalMart shopper would balk at calling them green.

Consider: nothing gets to a WalMart without being carted over thousands of miles of blacktop. That's if it didn't have to be flown here before hitting the trucks. That $4 t-shirt may have more miles under its belt than Ferdinand Magellan.

Consider: undercutting local companies until they die away, then jacking prices up once there is no alternative is the WalMart policy. It's not an accident--it's how they operate.

Again, I'm not hatin'. Obviously millions of people approve, and that is their business. However, Wal-Mart is now trying, at least superficially, to 'go green'. They offer a range of 'green' products. Okay, I don't know exactly why a plastic bottle of toxic cleaning chemicals is now green--maybe that's its actual color. WalMart also is stepping into the realm of organic cotton products and other popular green accoutrements. It doesn't make them green; it makes them aware of the issues of their times.

However, they are actually leading the green movement in one arena: labeling. The way some stores label healthy choices, WalMart is going to start labeling green(er) choices. I don't know exactly what will make something a 'green' choice among the many choices in those crowded aisles, but if it gets more everyday people to buy into environmentalism, I guess it can't hurt anything.