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Wal-Mart Is Company Most Linked To Blog Sustainability Discussions

Wal-Mart is the corporation most linked with blog posts that mention “sustainability,” according to Nielsen BuzzMetrics Sustainability Monitor. Wal-Mart was mentioned in 1.77 percent of the 356,403 messages about sustainability measured between 3/15/06 and 3/15/07.

What’s not clear is whether or not those mentions are positive or negative – there have been a lot of both.

From Walter Robb, co-president, Whole Foods, questioning the sincerity of Wal-Mart’s sustainability efforts to the recent announcement that the company is purchasing as much as 20 million kWh of solar power, the company has been a mainstay when blogs and traditional media discuss the “S” word.

What’s without question is that Wal-Mart’s PR team at Edelman and its own communications people have been pretty busy getting the word out – Wal-Mart has issued about 50 press releases in the last 12 months on sustainability issues.

Whole Foods fell right behind Wal-Mart, mentioned in 1.66 percent of the discussions. What’s interesting is that Whole Foods only released about 10 press releases on sustainability topics. It received a lot of mentions when it started selling wind energy credits last year.

The rest of the corporations on Nielsen’s chart are:

3.Starbucks 1.26%
4.Toyota  .64%
5.EnergyStar .20%
6.Goldman Sachs .15%
7.Lexus .15%
8.Trader Joes .14%
9.Bank of America .14%
10.Patagonia .11%
11.Aveda .07%
12.QualComm .02%
13.Ben and Jerry’s .01%
14.Enterprise Rent-A-Car .01%

GE, with all of its Ecomagination marketing, isn’t on the list.

In terms of which companies in the above list are associated with positive blog mentions on sustainability, the 2007 ImagePower Green Brands Survey, conducted by WPP’s Landor Associates, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates and Cohn & Wolfe, found the following companies tagged by respondents as most green:

1. Whole Foods
2. Wild Oats
3. Trader Joe’s
4. Toyota
5. Honda
6. Sub Zero
7. Ikea
8. Body Shop
9. GE
10. Aveda

Wal-Mart didn’t make this list.

Another good study to compare BuzzMetrics’ chart with is one from the Natural Marketing Institute.

As part of its Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability Index, NMI charted the rankings of 75 of the most-recognizable companies on the Russell 3000 stock index. The difference between public perception of the companies and analysts’ ratings revealed which companies are doing good and communicating well, which companies are doing good but not communicating it, and which companies are doing more communicating than acting.

Microsoft, Whole Foods, and Kellogg’s top the list.

Wal-Mart ranks 40th on the list, according to a GreenBiz article, due in large part to a -10 score from analysts for its environmental performance, which ties it for last place among all 75 companies studied for the LOHAS report. But the company’s prolific communications team, as noted above, has successfully convinced consumers, who scored Wal-Mart eleven points higher than analysts at +1. 

Nielsen BuzzMetrics launched its Sustainability Monitor earlier this year.

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