Does Walmart’s sustainability initiative signal the end of greenwashing?


CleanTechnica thinks it could
, given the broad-based coalition Walmart has assembled plus their enormous clout in the marketplace means they can mandate that changes be made.

But what drives Walmart’s decisions around sustainability are these three goals:

1. To be supplied by 100% by renewable energy
2. To create zero waste
3. To sell products that sustain our resources and environment

Walmart already mandates that suppliers meet certain criteria in the products and packaging. Now they plan a full life-cycle analysis of all products they sell, to be stored in a database on an open platform. In other words, full transparency. And that could mean no more greenwashing for consumer products.


  1. This is still not as good as it sounds. A lot of the point of such a database isn’t the contents or how available that data is, but what data is collected.

    Walmart would love to collect the data, and then come up with the questions that sound good that have good answers for their products. For example: How much of the product is made of recyclable material? If you define all plastics under 6 as recyclable, Walmart products look great. If you ask how much carbon is released via fosil fuel to transport the item from source to store, Walmart products suddenly won’t look that good.

    Make no mistake, there’s still green-washing going on. It’s just a sly way of doing it, that may marginally improve the “quality” of walmart products. But it won’t do much in the end but prove that polls are only as impartial as the poll makers and data collectors.

  2. There are rumors (string enough to affect the local real estate market) that Wal-Mart plans to shift from trucks to rail for a large portion of its distribution. I hope they’re true rumors, as trucking is horribly inefficient.

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