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Wal-Mart wants suppliers to use less fossil fuel

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will look for ways to reduce the amount of nonrenewable fuels used to make the products it sells, the latest target in a set of environmental goals for the world’s largest retailer, Chief Executive Lee Scott said Thursday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will look for ways to reduce the amount of nonrenewable fuels used to make the products it sells, the latest target in a set of environmental goals for the world’s largest retailer, Chief Executive Lee Scott said Thursday.

In an environmental speech in London, Scott said Wal-Mart could work with its thousands of suppliers to help them develop ways to rely less on fossil fuels in making their products.

“Just think about this: What if we worked with our suppliers to take nonrenewable energy off our shelves and out of the lives of our customers,” Scott said at the Prince of Wales Business and the Environment Programmed.

“I have asked the leadership of Wal-Mart to start thinking about this idea in a very serious way,” Scott said. A copy of the speech was distributed by Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Since late 2005, Wal-Mart has been taking the environmental offensive at a time when it is under attack from organized labor and other groups for its business practices, including employee pay and health benefits.

Under Scott, the company has set goals to someday use only renewable energy, to create zero waste and to sell products that sustain resources and the environment.

Scott has said the policy allows Wal-Mart to “do well while doing good,” cutting its costs for energy and excess packaging while reducing pollution.

“It is the responsibility of every corporation to be more sustainable,” he said in London.

Last month Wal-Mart opened the first of a new line of energy-efficient stores in Kansas City, Mo., that uses 20 percent less energy than other Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Scott said Wal-Mart is now moving past setting green goals for itself and wants to spread the message to its suppliers, employees, customers and communities. He said the target of getting suppliers to use less fossil fuel was an example of that approach.