Superior product quality and competitive pricing may no longer rule as the most critical variables in the equation for business success, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer article by AHC Group president Bruce Piasecki. A third strategic factor is coming into play: social responsibility. A growing number of multinational business leaders are already demonstrating that successful enterprises are willing to devote unprecedented time and effort to incorporate social responsibility into their business models.
Piasecki points to the culture shift occurring at General Electric as an example. GE, according to Piasecki, sees green technology for what it is: a great business opportunity.
But it’s the actions of Wal-Mart and its Sustainability 360 program, which goes beyond its direct environmental footprint to engage everyone the company touches: associates, suppliers, communities and customers, that signals the true significance of the trend, according to the article.
By requiring suppliers to reduce product packaging five percent by 2013, Wal-Mart expects to realize savings equal to removing 213,000 trucks from the road and saving about 324,000 tons of coal and 67 million gallons of diesel fuel per year, Piasecki writes. It will save millions more by making stores 30 percent more efficient by 2012, increasing fleet efficiency 25 percent by 2010, and reducing solid waste from its U.S. stores and Sam’s Clubs 25 percent by 2008.