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Walmart on Sustainability: 'Our Customers Don't Want To Pay More for Products'

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Speaking at the Environmental Innovation webinar yesterday, Walmart's Senior Sustainability Director explains the retail giant's stance on sustainability: "Our customers care, but they don't want to pay more for products or be confused by a lot of information while shopping," he said, according to WWD's report of the event. "Most of our customers wouldn't take the time to look through an iPhone or read a label."

Like some other fast-fashion companies, Walmart has been sounding the sustainability trumpet pretty loudly recently. In 2009 the company announced it would create a "sustainable index" to evaluate their environmental performance. They funded a "sustainable consortium" of brands that now has 100 members. They have a Sustainability Director on staff. And just this month, they announced a commitment to add $50B of American-made product to its offerings.

So how do these initiatives fit with Walmart's famous "every day low prices" mantra? "Customers shouldn't have to choose between products they can afford and products that are good for the environment," Rice said. "Customers are strapped and look to us to help make sustainable products." WWD points out that this is a running theme in Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton's rhetoric.

Walmart is the world's largest general merchandiser—it's estimated that 96% of Americans live within 20 miles of a Walmart store—and WWD reports that they have more than 100,000 suppliers in their supply chain.
· Wal-Mart's Sustainability Push [WWD]
· How Walmart Intends To Revolutionize E-Commerce [Racked]