Wal-Mart just released its sustainability report, a 59-page document that makes for interesting reading. It provides evidence both of how much the giant retailer has accomplished in the last few years and of how much more needs to be done. I wrote a column about the report today for CNNMoney.com.
To me, Wal-Mart is nothing less than the CSR turnaround story of all time. No company that I know of has made more progress on more issues of corporate responsibility more quickly than Wal-Mart.
Having said that, I have some real doubts about WMT’s capacity to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals. I think the company should set some hard greenhouse gas emissions targets, as others have done. Iâ€™d like WMT to move forward more quickly on gay rights, by providing domestic partner benefits to its people. And, of course, I wish WMT demonstrated more respect for the rights of their workers to unionize.
Stillâ€”Iâ€™m deeply impressed with how far the company has come.
Hereâ€™s how the column begins:
Here are some things you probably didn’t know about Wal-Mart. Last year, the world’s biggest retailer:
- Generated 20.4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions
- Improved the efficiency of its fleet by 15%
- Sold 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs
- Stopped doing business with 2.3% of 8,873 overseas factories it audited because of poor labor conditions
- Paid an average hourly wage of $10.76
- Employed 15,695 American Indians
- Gave away $301 million in charitable contributions
- Encouraged its employees to lose weight, and heard back that they lost, collectively, 184,315 pounds
You can read the rest here.