Going Green Is Strictly Business. Just Ask Wal-Mart


This is the second guest post by Wood Turner, Project Director, Climate Counts. His first effort - "Green Electronics: Only Half of the Story"? - was a perfect introduction to this one.

One of the great false debates about the global warming issue is whether or not going green is in conflict with making money. Consider some business groups' radical alignment with those still arguing that a hoax is afoot and that business will suffer from climate-conscious operational strategies. Nothing is further from the truth as Gary Hirshberg showed in example after example in his new book, "Stirring It Up."

One of the companies the book discusses is Wal-Mart, and to the surprise of many, Wal-Mart is doing as much as any company in America to change its practices to be more forward-thinking and more consistent with a less wasteful economy -- call it going green, if you must -- and here at Climate Counts, we applaud their efforts and the efforts of many other large companies to lead. (I'm lucky, by the way, to have Gary as the chair of the Climate Counts board.)As the director of a non-profit working hard to push the world's largest companies toward ever more substantive climate action, what I'm about to say may seem blasphemous. But I happen to think Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott's comments are a breath of fresh air. Our society and our marketplace need to hear less from companies that are just riding the green wave of the moment, using marketing buzz words and ad campaigns in an attempt to establish green cred.

We need to hear more from straight-talking CEOs who bear witness to the idea that wasting energy and resources while at the same time relying on unsustainable sources for that energy and those resources is, plain and simple, a terrible way to do business. That's the heart of the matter. When did waste become a viable business strategy? Our unfortunate complacency as consumers is what's allowed business as usual to go on for as long as it has. In truth, we shouldn't be focused on creating a "green" economy; we should be focused, as Lee Smith seems to be, on managing our existing economy MUCH, MUCH more intelligently. In the end, it will be better for everybody -- and the planet as well.

Watch our short film and then stop by Climate Counts and see what other companies are up to. We're updating our scores of the companies we've looked at so far and plan to release them next month.