They've decided to sell sustainable shrimp and salmon, decided to sell only hormone-free milk, invested in organic cotton and told their vast supply networks to stop wasting so much energy and materials on unnecessary packaging and transportation.
Now, the folks over at Wal-Mart have pledged to use more wood from sustainable, certified forests, and to phase out wood from clear-cut and illegal forests. The world's largest retailer struck the deal with WWF, a major international conservation organization. Wal-Mart will spend one year assessing the sources of its wood products, and then it will eliminate any unsustainable sources from its supply chain.
The end result for consumers should be the assurance that any wood-based product you buy at Wal-Mart, from office paper to a new end table, should be derived from a forest that will live on after the logging.
With nearly half of the worlds forests already gone, action is urgently needed, said Suzanne Apple, WWF-US vice-president for Business & Industry. Wal-Marts commitment to support responsible forestry answers that call to action.
The step is another example of Wal-Mart using its enormous market clout to make a positive difference. For years, the retailer was known for bullying local officials, making ghost towns of small town business districts and providing low-cost products at the expense of organized labor and the environment. But in the last few years, Wal-Mart is making a new name for itself as it seeks to improve its environmental performance and find innovative ways to save money, energy and the unnecessary use of natural resources.
When it comes to wood products, both legal and illegal, the United States is the No. 1 consumer, according to WWF. Because Wal-Mart is such a large retailer, the choices it makes could affect the entire industry. Most wood purveyors would want to keep the option of supplying to Wal-Mart open, and that means doing a better job protecting the forests that yield their products.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.