We try to stay away from politics in this blog, but not always. This is one of those times. The U.S. government has debated for many years what companies should do about being more “green.” Just today, President Obama talked at length about energy independence. Despite massive sums of money, countless meetings, committees and dialogue, the government has had limited influence in getting people to change.
For one thing companies spend LOTS of money to influence politicians to vote for what they want. So, while the Democrats enact EPA standards when they are in power, the Republicans refuse to fund the EPA to enforce those standards when they are in power, and nothing happens, except talk. (As my friend George Nelson used to say, NATO, no action, talk only … which I think was a double entendre.)
Then along comes Wal-Mart. That big bad capitalist retailer that exploits children and exports jobs out of the U.S. while discriminating against their women employees. (At least some people accuse them of these things). This capitalist pig enterprise is likely to make more impact on the environment (in a green way) than all the so-called government regulations to date.
A recent article in Advertising Age, reports, “Wal-Mart, however, clearly has been out in front of the rest of the industry on many issues. And unlike a government, it isn’t bound by constitutional due process that bogs regulations sometimes for years. No Tea Party representatives are trying to withhold funds for its greenhouse-gas reduction plans. And with billions of dollars at business at stake for its biggest customers, Wal-Mart wields a bigger stick than any fines a government can impose.”
Wal-Mart is quoted as saying, “We do intend to reward those suppliers who have measured impacts and show progress toward meeting stated reduction goals.” They are also focusing on nutrition related issues with their food items in alignment with the First Lady’s initiatives.
Is it perfect? No, nothing is, but left to its own devices and monitored for abuse, capitalism can work well to meet social needs as well.