Can Walmart be sustainable?

One of the areas in my case study paper is exploring sustainability with business. Throughout the business world of organizations, corporations, universities, and simply social structures, I have been noticing more and more of these organizations creating “Sustainability Plans.” These are attempts of businesses to become more environmentally conscious as this environmental movement has been generating substantial movement in the recent past years. My questions always remains, are these organizations implementing a sustainability plan to really improve their environmental impact or are they just jumping on the sustainability bandwagon to appeal more to consumers?

So I decided to look at one of the largest corporations in the world; hence, it has a ginormous environmental impact simply through production, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, etc. Its name is Walmart- I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I went to Walmart’s website and, low and behold, it has a whole website section dedicated to its sustainability practices. It even has The Green Room blog and the Walmart Sustainability Hub for suppliers to connect and engage about sustainable products and practices. The Walmart environmental mission statement declares:

Environmental sustainability has become an essential ingredient to doing business    responsibly and successfully. As the world’s largest retailer, our actions have the          potential to save our customers money and help ensure a better world for   generations to come. We’ve set three aspirational sustainability goals: to be supplied 100% by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain people and the environment. (

I don’t know about you, but I think those goals seem pretty lofty to accomplish as one of the world’s largest retailers and corporations. Even as an individual, I think those goals are pretty difficult to achieve. I would love to see Walmart prove me wrong and be successful in achieving those measures; yet such statements are difficult to believe. This was exactly the kind of example I was looking for. I’m sure many organizations are truly following through with their sustainability plans, but I can’t help but wonder if others are simply putting the label of sustainability on their brochure to appeal more to society. This solidifies the half-incorporation aspect of sustainability that Gramsci acknowledges through the hegemonic bloc, which includes the dominant ideology involving some of the views of the alternative group.

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