Big box stores like Walmart are in the process of developing their own sustainability index. Walmart in particular has created a 15-question scorecard for top-tier companies that sell products in their stores. The answers are used to assess companies, and how sustainable their business practices are. However, they are not ranking or rating products, or even companies. Instead, they’re just trying to provide transparency and spur environmental change.
In honesty, I don’t shop at Walmart if I can avoid it. Their stores are large, crowded and overwhelming. The way they treat employees is questionable at best. They have been accused of forcing small, local businesses into bankruptcy. And I have concerns about the conditions in overseas factories that manufacture the goods they sell. While I think that there is potential for good in their sustainability index, it is not enough to make me a believer.
All the same, the sustainability index sounds like a step in the right direction. With a company as large and far-reaching as Walmart these initiatives can have huge impacts. In 2005 Walmart had more than 6000 stores and 1.6 million employees worldwide. The actions undertaken by Walmart will obviously have a much larger impact than the actions undertaken by almost any other entity on the planet. If Walmart actually acts on the information it receives in order to create lasting change, it’s not a bad thing at all.
Of course, nobody asked me what I think should be covered under a sustainability index, least of all Walmart. But if I were given a seat at the table, here are the things that I would want it to cover:
What about you? Do you think that Walmart’s sustainability index is a fabulous step forward, or just so much greenwashing? And what would you like to see it cover?
This is my first post for the Green Moms Carnival. I am so excited to be taking part! There are some really fabulous green bloggers sharing their views on ‘Green Standards’ this month. So hop on over to In Women We Trust to read more about Sustainable Standards: What’s the Consumer’s Opinion?