Wal-Mart issues a progress report on its experimental eco-store

The company greens hate to love is releasing a report today on progress at its year-old, experimental eco-store in Aurora, Colo. Wal-Mart is trumpeting its successes, from waterless urinals to LED lights in its freezers, and acknowledging its, uh, challenges, such as wind turbines that have short-circuited and recycled rubber sidewalks that have warped and faded. The mega-behemoth has also met with Target, Costco, and other competitors to try to gain allies (and drive costs down) as it seeks to green its other stores. While progressives shiver at the company’s labor record, they’re praising these new steps. “None of this is ‘greenstanding,’” says Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. “They deserve the chance to show that their business model is compatible with high standards, not just low prices.” High standards are swell and all, but Wal-Mart execs emphasize that the real reason for the shift is to save the company and its customers money. And the good press doesn’t hurt.