Wal-Mart, the worlds largest retailer, has launched several recent environmental efforts, receiving both plaudits and skepticism.
Its latest aims to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015. The company says that’s equivalent to taking 3.8 million cars off the road for a year.
Last year, Wal-Mart put rooftop solar panels on more of its U.S. stores and it launched a sustainability index, which asks suppliers 15 eco-related questions so it can give customers more detailed product information.
Wal-Mart CEO and president Mike Duke said the company needs to push for great efficiency to a maintain competitive edge as it expands worldwide.
“We need to continue to build stores and add retail selling space. Yet we know we need to get ready for a world in which energy will only be more expensive and there will only be a greater need to operate with less carbon in the supply chain,” Duke told the Associated Press.
“Is Wal-Mart moving the earth? No, not yet,” writes Elizabeth Strucken of the Environmental Defense Fund, which is working with Wal-Mart to help maintain it suppliers reduce both emissions and costs.
She says this is “precisely the kind of innovative approach of reducing carbon pollution that we need right now.”