Beyond Sustainability 101: What’s the Next Step Once the Low-Hanging Fruit Has Been Picked?

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Last week, BCLC hosted the first of a series of webinars (see the presentation here) with the goal of promoting the importance of smart, internal operations management for companies looking to grow as environmental stewards. These webinars aren’t meant to be at the ‘sustainability 101’ level of discourse: rather, they’re tailored to fit the priorities of companies that have advanced beyond the ‘introductory’ phase of environmental management and are looking for new ways to  prove themselves as environmental leaders.

The first webinar certainly set this advanced tone. Jeff Rice, the Senior Director of Sustainability at Walmart Stores Inc. discussed how his company has translated the bold vision of former CEO Lee Scott in 2005—to use 100% renewable power, create zero waste, and make products that sustain people and the environment—into impressive results.

Jeff explained how Walmart chose to integrate its sustainability strategy into its core philosophy and value proposition for consumers. Rather than merely create a line of expensive green alternatives to trusted brands, the company has sought to push environmental performance throughout its stores. As Jeff reiterated during the webinar, “customers shouldn’t have to choose between products they can afford and products that are good for the environment.” 

By interweaving sustainability into its core operations, Walmart has been able to undertake ambitious initiatives that affect how the whole company does business. Recognizing that 90% of its environmental impact came from its supply chain, Walmart created a detailed, all-encompassing supplier scorecard that actively engages suppliers, identifies ways for them to improve their environmental performance, and tracks their progress.

This scorecard has been completed by over 1,000 of Walmart’s suppliers. It is credited with accelerating the adoption of CFL lights, the increasing amount of organic food available at Walmart stores, and numerous innovations in how products are packaged. The initiative has reached 70% of sales across 190 categories. Next, the scorecard will be rolled out to more markets, include more suppliers, and continue the remake the process of how suppliers think about their environmental impacts.

These webinars aren’t meant to be at the ‘sustainability 101’ level of discourse: rather, they’re tailored to fit the priorities of companies that have advanced beyond the ‘introductory’ phase of environmental management and are looking for new ways to  prove themselves as environmental leaders.

The next webinar in BCLC’s series will be taking place on February 21st and cover the topic of energy efficiency. David Bartlett, IBM’s expert on the ways buildings use energy, will speak about how to discover significant savings for your company through smarter management of buildings. This won’t be your standard ‘make sure to turn off your computer’ lecture, but an exploration on how to take advantage of the next generation of smarter buildings.

To register for the February 21st webinar, please follow the link here.

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