Monday, April 11, 2011

Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke implements green initiative

When Mike Duke became CEO of Wal-Mart, he knew that as a leader of such a large, influential company, he had to lead a change in sustainability.  With over 2 million employees and 4800 stores, Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the United States. Wal-Mart is so large, than one out of every three dollars worldwide is associated with a company that does business with Wal-Mart. Duke knew that by implementing a new green initiative, he could change the retail industry. Duke developed a green initiative with three goals:  One-hundred percent renewable energy, zero percent waste, and sustainable products for customers and the environment. Within a few months of implementing this new strategy, Wal-Mart was using 4 billion fewer plastic bags, delivering 70 million more boxes, while driving 100 million fewer miles. Wal-Mart’s new transportation strategy has improved efficiency by 38%, saving the company more that $200 million annually, while also cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 200,000 tons per year. Wal-Mart has also become the world’s largest buyer of organic milk and cotton. Duke understood that the key to his strategy was not just within the stores, but within the supply chain. Wal-Mart is showing its suppliers how to change their shipping, packaging, storing, selling, heating, cooling, disposing, and recycling strategies, in order to save money while improving the environment. Mike Duke is not just a manager at Wal-Mart, but is a leader in change. He is trying to create a change for the future by implementing a new green strategy. Duke has proved that he is an authentic leader according to the interpersonal definition of authentic leadership. His leadership towards sustainability not only involves Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart’s suppliers as well. Not only is Duke expressing his strong values and a concern for his customers, he is motivating Wal-Mart’s suppliers to “buy in” to Wal-Mart’s new green strategy. 

Do you think Wal-Mart is doing the right thing by pushing its suppliers to follow its green initiaitive?

Do you feel Wal-Mart is bullying its suppliers by forcing them to abide by certain green standards?

Should other large companies follow Wal-Mart's lead?

Posted by: Jerret Baker

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