It was easy for Wal-Mart’s critics to laugh this past spring when CEO Lee Scott proudly announced that he drove a Lexus hybrid. For Scott to expect praise for his consumer choices given the abysmal record of his massive company — which has repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act while contributing to sprawl, air pollution, and a host of other serious problems — seemed to insult public intelligence. It also seemed a strange maneuver for a man heading a company known for shunning environmental concerns. Indeed, in Robert Greenwald’s new film, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, one veteran activist says she has never encountered a company as unresponsive as Wal-Mart.
But since then, Scott’s green inclinations seem to have grown. In late October, he unveiled plans to hold Wal-Mart’s suppliers to higher environmental standards and to begin selling clothing made from organic cotton. Just four days later, in a speech to employees, he outlined his goals for being a “good steward” to the environment. Scott plans to increase fuel efficiency in... Read more