Like a lot of people, I’ve had my doubts about Walmart‘s sincerity when they’ve talked about sustainability. No matter their green claims, I can’t get past the fact they sell more cheap stuff from China than anyone.

In contrast, Patagonia is a poster child for sustainable business.

Given the above, the following interview with Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia and 1% for the Planet is a bit of an eye-opener:

My favorite quote:

Every time we make a decision that’s right for the planet, it makes us more money—and they are convinced that they can also do that.

So what do you think?

Can Walmart do it?

And if they do, will it change your opinion of them?

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • I agree with Chouinard’s contention that by doing things that are right for the planet WalMart (and Patagonia) can make more money. Especially when it comes to efforts to green and secure a safe manufacturing supply chain. This makes sense since the scrutiny and high standards of these safety and environmental standards creates a price floor for their products, as well as a perceived value in the minds of the conscious consumer, where more sustained profits are achievable. Also, given Walmart’s place at the top of the pyramid, such an initiative can create a rather bizarre example of creative destruction, where WalMart will lead the competition to greener practices.

    Clearly I side with the optimists re: WalMart.

    Greg

  • Eric Weaver says:

    I agree with Chouinard and Greg. It’s not just a goodwill thing. They WILL be more financially successful by embracing sustainability (as they have been doing aggressively for the past few years). And, as Chouinard points out, their incredible mass and buying power can force more planetary upside than a wave of traditionally grass-roots, bottom-up pressure.

    It’s amazing that they’ve embraced this mentality and I’m thankful for it.

  • Beth M says:

    I had no idea this was happening. Very glad you have brought this out into the open so everyone in the blogosphere can be aware of this.

  • Would you care basically post a number of this on my site if I include a reference to this website?

  • Sure. Just link back to the original post. Thanks for asking.

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