Ev­ery­day Re­new­able En­ergy

Wal-mart, long the bo­gey­man of the left, is mak­ing one of their long-held dreams a re­al­ity: aford­able green en­ergy de­ployed on an in­dus­trial scale.

Forbes - - Strategies - By christo­pher hel­man

The roof of the Wal-mart in Moun­tain View, Calif. is cov­ered with so­lar pan­els. De­pend­ing on the time of day they pro­vide 15% of the power needed to run the store. Last year Pres­i­dent Barack Obama stopped by here to give a speech about his en­ergy plan. Stand­ing be­fore shelves flled with dis­count light­bulbs, Obama held up Wal-mart as an exemplar of cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“A few years ago you de­cided to put so­lar pan­els on the roof of the store. You re­placed some tra­di­tional light­bulbs with LEDS. You made re­frig­er­a­tor cases more ef­cient. And you even put in a charg­ing sta­tion for elec­tric ve­hi­cles,” said Obama. “More and more com­pa­nies like Wal-mart are re­al­iz­ing that wast­ing less en­ergy isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for busi­ness. It’s good for the bot­tom line.”

And it’s great p.r. for a com­pany that has been lam­basted for a range of cor­po­rate sins, from low wages and de­plorable work­ing con­di­tions to ac­cu­sa­tions of preda­tory pric­ing and mo­nop­o­lis­tic be­hav­ior (nat­u­rally they deny th­ese things). But if Wal-mart’s en­ergy ini­tia­tive some­times smells a lit­tle like green­wash­ing,

“We’re not in the sus­tain­abil­ity busi­ness, we’re in real es­tate”: Wal-mart’s green

maven David oz­ment.

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