Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott made a big ol’ speech yesterday spelling out ambitious social, health, and environmental goals for the retail behemoth. Wal-Mart will work with other retailers to boost industry-wide green standards, said Scott, and, within five years, Wal-Mart suppliers will be required to meet stringent environmental standards — and may even be paid more to do so. The company wants to double its sales of merchandise that help consumers improve home energy efficiency, is in talks with automakers about selling electric or hybrid cars, and could even set up windmills or solar panels in its parking lots to allow customers to recharge with renewable energy. “It’s a good vision,” says Gwen Ruta of green group Environmental Defense. “Now we need to make it a reality.” To an extent, Wal-Mart already has: It’s been aggressively pushing green goals since 2005, has strived to open energy-efficient stores, and has to date sold 145 million compact fluorescent light bulbs.
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