Last month, I wrote three blogposts adding up to more than 2,000 words about Walmart’s supplier sustainability index. I did so because I think it’s a big deal, but skeptics remain. Some people simply can’t accept the fact that Walmart can do anything that’s good for its people or the planet.
In a guest post, Alisha Staggs of the Environmental Defense Fund reacts to my blogposts and argues that the Walmart index will, in fact, have a meaningful impact. Alisha works for EDF in Bentonville, Arkansas, where Walmart is based. She works on the supplier index and with The Sustainability Consortium, a broader coalition of retailers, brands and NGOs that is developing ways to identify and measure the most important environmental and social impacts of consumer products. Alisha is trained as a biologist and has an MBA from the University of Arkansas.
Here’s what Alisha has to say, and I’ll offer a concluding comment or two below.
In Marc Gunther’s recent article “Walmart’s index: a real life toy story,” he calls the Walmart supplier Sustainability Index, “the biggest environmental initiative in the company’s history,” and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) agrees. He also questions whether “Walmart is taking this too far”” and “how the world’s largest retailer is exercising its market power.”
With a 25-year track record challenging companies to make decisions that are good for the environment and the economy, we at EDF are used to asking these types of tough questions.
That’s precisely why we have an EDF office based in Bentonville dedicated solely to working together with Walmart to advance sustainability. Because we don’t take money from the company, we can push hard to achieve the kinds of transformational change of which it is capable.
When it comes to the Sustainability Index, we’re on board. And here’s why: [click to continue…]