I often check in with twitter in the morning for my green news, and most of the time it’s about what needs to be done (or nowadays, about the unfolding devastation in Japan) or what animals need to be saved, or who is pulling the wool over our eyes. But today, instead of mostly heartbreaking news of who or what is being mistreated, or whose voices are going unheard, I found several stories of people and corporations making changes towards more accountability, affecting world change within corporate business structure and in so doing, in the world’s endangered environment. In light of those stories, I thought today’s post would celebrate the great shifts in individual and corporate thinking and responsibility.
Take Walmart, a store that is often associated with running small mom-and-pop operations out of business by undercutting them and every other competitor within a 50-mile radius of a Walmart superstore. That may be so, but one has to hand it to Lee Scott, Walmart’s CEO in 2005 and Vonda Lockwood, their current Director for Store Innovations and Sustainability, for initiating and implementing several policies that directly benefit America’s hungry and its environment while setting a standard for Big Business: Lockwood implemented and made a viable corporate policy out of Scott’s zero-waste recycling goals, keeping 4.6 billion pounds of cardboard out of the landfill in 2009; she also created a food-donation program that provided nearly 200 million meals to the hungry in America, and created a past-its-prime fresh-food composting program which, “Accelerated the development of a national infrastructure for commercial composting facilities.” 
An article about Walmart’s social and environmental strides wouldn’t be complete without the jaw-dropping news of McDonald’s collaborative analysis with World Wildlife Fund which resulted in the mega-fast-food chain declaring a corporate sustainability commitment that includes: not sourcing its beef from the Amazon rainforest  (or what used to be the rainforest before we cut it down so we could have cheap, fast hamburgers.); sourcing all of its palm oil from RSPO- (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified sources by 2015 ; and using packaging sourced from sustainable resources.
And the hits just keep on comin’: The Girl Scouts of America (two actual scouts, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, as a matter of fact) have convinced Kellogg Company to start sourcing oil for its products, including its Girl Scout Cookies, from sustainable, fair-trade palm oil. Palm oil is an ingredient in most cookie and cereal products and is the main factor in orangutan slaughter and loss of habitat in Indonesia. 
While I know that these policies, commitments and programs are but a drop in the bucket, it is encouraging to say the least, that these world-wide, multi-billion-dollar, bottom-line-driven (and we all realize this environmental stewardship is money-driven) companies are acknowledging the necessity for implemented and documented sustainability programs. It can only lead the way to more and more such commitments, awareness, responsibility and change.
 “A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Walmart’s Zero Waste Program” by Michelle Mauthe Harvey. Published March 21, 2011 on GreenBiz.com.
 “World Wildlife Fund Gets in Bed With McDonald’s, Gives Birth to Darling Sustainability Program” by Christopher Mimms. Published March 21, 2011 on Grist.org.
 “McDoanld’s Announces Commitment to Certified Sustainable Sources; Releases 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report” sourced from McDonald’s corporation. Published on March 9, 2011 on Marketwire.com.
 “2 Girl Scouts Compel Kellogg’s to Take a Stance on Palm Oil.” by Sarah Novak. Published March 19, 2011 on PlanetGreen.Discovery.com.