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10 Ways Walmart Fails at Sustainability

10 Ways Walmart Fails at Sustainability
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This report is brought to us by Food & Water Watch and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Since launching its sustainability program in 2005, Walmart has tried to position itself as a leader on corporate environmental responsibility. In frequent press announcements and annual “Global Responsibility” reports, Walmart touts its activities on renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, waste reduction, and product improvements.

While Walmart’s sustainability campaign has done wonders for its public image, it has done little for the environment. In fact, Walmart’s environmental impact has only grown over the last seven years. Its business practices remain highly polluting, while its relentless expansion and consolidation of the market have come at the expense of more sustainable enterprises and systems of production and distribution. Here are 10 ways Walmart is failing on sustainability:

1. Selling Shoddy Products

By demanding ever-lower prices from its suppliers, Walmart drives down the quality and durability of consumer goods. Clothing, appliances, electronics, and other products now wear out faster than ever before. This has sped up the flow of goods from factory to landfill, vastly expanding the amount of stuff Americans buy and discard.

Take clothing, for example. In the mid-1990s, the average American bought 28 items of clothing a year. Today, we buy 59 items. We also throw away an average of 83 pounds of textiles per person, mostly discarded apparel, each year.


First photo from OpalMirror via flickr; second photo from Clean Wal-Mart via flickr

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5:50AM PST on Jan 17, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:21AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Big box stores are there for their own profit, little more, destroy small business and contribute little, nothing surprising here!

7:48AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Is it just me or does it bother anyone else when people put thanks and interesting just to get their 20 pts.? Really? Is that all you have to say, when someone took the time to put this presentation together so you could get the information, share your thoughts and opinionI s and see the thoughts and opinions of others. And maybe come up with a solution or at the least make more people aware of the situation.
I learned a lot from this, however, I never felt comfortable in a Walmart. I have always taken a Xanax and run in for my one thing and run back out. In a way I have always felt a little creepy?
Not sure if that is the right word. Everything is crowded in and towering over which is a little scary for one so short as I, and closed in, with so many shoppers at one time, I just can't stay in there for more than a few minutes. I feel the greed and want one of everything it is too much pressure to buy, buy, buy!

11:59AM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

Just stay out of Wal-Mart for the reasons above and more. Support real local businesses and farmers, not mega billionaires that buy politicians!

10:38PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Thank you.

3:49PM PDT on May 6, 2012


2:13PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Thanks for posting.

4:51AM PDT on May 5, 2012

Walmart, the number one reason why the Chinese economy is growing rapidly while that of the US is declining

12:02AM PDT on May 5, 2012

Thank-you for the interesting article. Ten more reasons I don't shop at Walmart.

5:28PM PDT on May 4, 2012

Thanks for posting.

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Recent Comments from Causes

Very interesting stats now we need to decide.

Unless the owners of these places are willing to trade places, be put in cages and paraded for the entertainment…

Eventually, I wonder who the real humans are: trophy hunters or the bears?

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