Going Green At Wal-Mart
April 09, 2008
By Brian Halsey
Hawaii Market Manager for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Everyone these days has protecting the environment top of mind - and that’s a good thing. It will take all of us coming together to solve today’s environmental issues for future generations. Let me explain how we’ve been actively addressing the environment in our business.
Our company has set simple and straightforward environmental goals: to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, to create zero waste and to sell products that sustain our resources and the environment.
Tapping sources of renewable energy in our Islands makes sense. Last May, we announced a solar power pilot project at four Hawaii stores. The first installation was completed in January atop our Honolulu store. Additional installations scheduled for 2008 include our Mililani, Pearl City and Kailua-Kona stores.
On average, each solar power-generating system can provide 10-15 percent of the power for the store on which it’s installed. For example, we expect the Honolulu system will produce more than 444,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar electricity during the first full year of production.
New stores are built with environmental features such as daylight harvesting and LEDs that save energy and improve the shopping experience. For example, the Pearl City location uses skylights to refract daylight throughout the store and light sensors to monitor the amount of natural light available. During periods of higher natural daylight, the system dims or turns off the store lights, thereby reducing energy use.
As a company, we constantly look at ways to achieve our goal of creating zero waste. All of our stores recycle plastic bags from customers as well as product packaging materials such as plastic bags and cardboard. Last year, we shipped approximately 6,600 tons of recyclables back to the Mainland.
We also believe in selling products that sustain our resources. Reusable bags made from recycled water bottles are sold at each of our stores for $1. And our company surpassed its goal to sell 100 million compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) in October 2007, three months ahead of schedule. During the campaign, customers in Hawaii purchased enough CFLs to save more than $4 million in-home energy costs through the lifetime of the bulbs.
By May, we expect to sell only concentrated laundry detergent in our stores, saving more than 400 million gallons of water, 95 million pounds of plastic resin and 125 million pounds of cardboard nationwide over the next three years. For water alone, this is the equivalent of saving 100 million individual showers.
Our associates also care for the environment. They started Personal Sustainability Projects in 2006 as a way to integrate sustainability into their own lives by making small changes to everyday habits such as recycling and healthy eating. In addition, the program encourages them to work in teams to undertake projects in their communities. For instance, one store developed a used-tire recycling program; another helped its local community to clean up a wildlife area.
Sustainability takes all of us coming together to address the issues. We encourage each of you to get involved and join the sustainability effort. It’s a good thing.
For more details on our programs, visit our stores or check out www.walmart.com/green