Corporations Going Green

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.” [1]


Image by Dmitry Rozhkov on Flikr

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 [2] (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 [3]; and using packaging sourced from sustainable resources.

Can Walmart Make 140 Million Americans Healthier

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. [4]

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.

- Jocelyn Broyles

[1] “A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Walmart’s Zero Waste Program” by Michelle Mauthe Harvey. Published March 21, 2011 on

[2] “World Wildlife Fund Gets in Bed With McDonald’s, Gives Birth to Darling Sustainability Program” by Christopher Mimms. Published March 21, 2011 on

[3] “McDoanld’s Announces Commitment to Certified Sustainable Sources; Releases 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report” sourced from McDonald’s corporation. Published on March 9, 2011 on

[4] “2 Girl Scouts Compel Kellogg’s to Take a Stance on Palm Oil.” by Sarah Novak. Published March 19, 2011 on

Palm Oil — A Rainforest’s Most Deadly Commodity


Eternal Gardener
Eternal G6 years ago

Green or greenwashing?

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L6 years ago

It's a start people.

Sheri P.
Sheri P6 years ago

It's gonna take a lot more than this for me to believe in Walmart. I hate the company and absolutely refuse to shop there.

Barb greene
Barb greene6 years ago

Thank you!

Carolyn Dakin
Carolyn Dakin6 years ago

Hopefully this will soon be the "Norm" for all companies and producers

Bruno Moreira
Bruno Moreira6 years ago

this is a major breakthrough to making our world a better place...its good that more people are realizing this before its to late!!

Michal Ciepielewski

thanks a lot;)

James Frazer
James Frazer6 years ago

They could have done these things years ago when asked to. It’s not until the real pressure gets to these large companies that they bend in the green direction. We should all start buying and using products from long time green manufacturers. They have been around for years we just don’t hear about them because they can not advertise like the Wal-marts can. Companies like Melaleuca have been green for 25 years. YES 25 years and they also help with every national and world disaster that happens. I am so glad I joined with this group of non toxic, biodegradable company.

Shannon B.
Shannon M6 years ago

"Going green" is just another way for companies to stay on top since there is an ever growing demographic of customers who have set higher standards these days. The company is not to be applauded, the people are, for demanding a better way, for expecting more.

Mary B.
Mary B6 years ago

As late in the day, and as small as these steps seem, this is the way the future is built. The excessive waste and over consumption is a hold over from trying to sustain an economy based on industrialization. Futurists have long known that we must change our business and economic model because the status quo model is too hard on the environment, the mainstreet economy and the working people. But getting people to understand that this is necessary, and there are many new ideas just waiting to be tryed out is met by accusations of conspiracy and distrust. So any little step towards clean up and energy efficiency needs to be loudly applauded and even more of what we want encouraged.People with the new ideas are constantly infiltrating the big corps so stop just throwing the baby out with the bath water.Nay sayers, keep close watch, but please, stop just poo pooing everything because you've grown so cynacle you won't believe anything good any more. That helps nothing.