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Business Voice for the Environment

New York Members Hear About Wal-Mart's Green Practices

On October 3, Tyler Elm, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Business Sustainability for Wal-Mart, joined Ashok Gupta, Director of NRDC’s Air and Energy Program, to discuss the central challenge of how a company such as Wal-Mart can meet the growing demand for sustainability while continuing to grow their business. Wal-Mart’s initiatives include engaging in supply-chain management that would assist manufacturers in less developed countries; creating a zero-waste system supplied by 100 percent renewable energy; and reduce its carbon footprint 25 percent by 2013 by changing facilities and store prototypes, doubling the efficiency of their fleet, and adopting cleaner technologies.

Ashok and other members of NRDC’s team are among environmental groups working with Tyler and Wal-Mart to ensure that they implement the right types of programs and technologies to achieve real progress. NRDC has already helped Wal-Mart implement a new program to promote compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). As Tyler noted, if every Wal-Mart customer switched one regular bulb in their house for a CFL, it would roughly equal the energy savings of taking 1.3 million cars off the road over the lifetime of the bulb. In a global economy where almost half of the largest economic entities are corporations rather than countries, mega-companies like Wal-Mart will be an integral part of any workable solution to environmental problems. We’d like to thank Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP for generously hosting this event.

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