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Wal-Mart Pushes Green Outside U.S. Borders

wal-martWal-Mart announced this week goals to reduce phosphates in products in the Americas region by 70 percent by 2011. The move is part of a larger environmental plan for the region, which will also include more sustainable packaging.

Phosphates, a chemical commonly found in laundry and dish detergents, pollute the water and cause excess algae growth. The Americas region includes over 2,300 Wal-Mart stores in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, Brazil, and Argentina. It is the company’s largest business unit next to their U.S. region.

“Our reach around the world puts us in a unique position to drive sustainable change across national boundaries and into the global supply chain,” said Craig Herkert, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Americas. Recently, Wal-Mart has made a number of environmental upgrades to their Americas facilities, including a solar power system at one Mexican branch.

Wal-Mart also announced the launch of a new labeling program for green products in their Canadian region. Called “For the Greener Good,” this program will include 200 products by the end of 2009 – addition to the over 700 sustainable products already available. The recently opened Bulington, Ontario Wal-Mart will serve as what the company calls a “living laboratory” and will be used to test new environmental features like geothermal cooling and heating before these systems are taken to other Canadian Wal-Mart stores.

Current Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott is retiring on February 1, 2009, and the new CEO, Mike Duke, has big plans to reduce waste, use clean energy, and work with green suppliers. “I am very serious about it. This is not optional,” Duke said. “It’s not something of the past. This is all about the future.”

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