Wal-Mart's Environmental Chief "Reassigned" -- Hmm


Via the NY Times, we learn of the "reassignment" of Andrew Ruben, head honcho of their big-time environmental program. Ruben, said to have been "considered a rising star at the company," was responsible for many of Wal-Mart's high-profile sustainability initiatives, including their work with National Resources Defense Council and bringing Al Gore to corporate HQ to talk global warming.

He hasn't been fired -- his new job will be as the head of private label strategy, including in-house brands like Sam's Choice and Great Value -- but the timing seems a bit odd, so hot on the heels of their Live Better Sustainability Summit (just last week). By all accounts a successful, greenwash-free venture -- see TreeHugger's coverage of it here and here, along with interviews at the summit here and here -- the summit seemed to be further justification that it is indeed getting harder to hate Wal-Mart. So why the reassignment?Hard to say for sure, since the company hasn't officially announced it -- the Times obtained an internal company memo announcing the move, but they do note that, "Mr. Ruben is not leaving the environmental world entirely. In his new position, he will work on developing sustainable products to be sold in Wal-Mart’s 4,000 stores, according to the memo."

So, perhaps it's perfectly normal -- a guy who did one job moving along to another -- or perhaps it's something more -- a worst case scenario might include Wal-Mart's ultimate withdrawal from the green game altogether (though that's quite unlikely, we think) -- but as with everything else we've ever seen from the mega-retailer, we'll probably just have to wait and see. via ::New York Times

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