In a speech that promised widespread improvement and reform throughout Wal-Mart and its supply chain, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr., pledged to cut the energy used by many of its company’s products 25 percent, reports the New York Times.
“We live in a time when people are losing confidence in the ability of government to solve problems.” But Wal-Mart, he said, “does not wait for someone else to solve problems.”Since 2005, Wal-Mart has committed itself to a number of energy reforms. Its sale of 145 million compact fluorescent light bulbs has, according to Scott, saved enough electricity to forestall the need for three coal-fired power plants.
Scott said Wal-Mart would now focus on additional products that use a large amount of energy, like air-conditioners, microwave ovens and televisions. Its goal is to work with suppliers to make such products 25 percent more energy-efficient within three years. “When Wal-Mart asks, suppliers jump,” said Noah Horowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In addition, Scott said the company is talking to leaders of the automobile industry about selling electric or hybrid cars and might even install windmills in its parking lots so customers could recharge their cars with renewable electricity.
Finally, Scott committed Wal-Mart to creating a more socially and environmentally conscious network of suppliers around the world. He called on major retailers to join a global network of retailers and consumer goods companies, led by Paris-based C.I.E.S., that is developing socially conscious manufacturing standards. “We believe there should be one framework of social and environmental standards for all major global retailers,” he said.
Scott also said he would press for suppliers in China to comply with that country’s environmental regulations and would require them to certify that they meet industry standards.