Aside from Walmart itself, there is no louder and more enthusiastic cheerleader for the retail giant's sustainability campaign than Environmental Defense Fund. A quick perusal of the news over the last few weeks finds EDF issuing a press release about Walmart's green leadership, praising its environmental boldness in a Fortune interview, backing its solar claims in a Fast Company article, and headlining a live chat about Walmart hosted by The Guardian.
EDF, one of the nation's largest and best-known environmental organizations, is Walmart's right-hand man in the green game. It turns out, unlike most Walmart jobs, that's a pretty lucrative gig to have.
Since 2005, EDF has received $66 million from the Walton Family Foundation. The Waltons are the children and grandchildren of Walmart founder Sam Walton. The crucial thing to know about the family -- in addition to their mind-boggling wealth, estimated at $145 billion — is that they control Walmart. They not only have several seats on the company's board, including the chair. They own over half of Walmart's stock.
So, the Waltons both run Walmart and finance EDF. Their donations to EDF started in 2004, shortly before Walmart launched its sustainability campaign. For the Waltons, the donations are a bargain, giving Walmart's environmental announcements an instant veneer of green credibility.