RenGen at Retail: Wal-Mart Plays Green

Wal-Mart is not a RenGen shopping experience. If RenGenners shop at Wal-Mart, it’s in cognito. But there are two glimmers of hope for the mega-chain in light of last week’s announcement of the Wal-Mart Green Strategy. First, Wal-Mart has considerable self-interest in going green. Over the years it has grown a lucrative side business in recycling Wal-Mart waste. Cash is king when motivating a company like Wal-Mart to do the right thing. Wal-Mart CEO said it best, “But we discovered the truth: The real reason to do this is for the business itself.”

Secondly, Wal-Mart has taken a critical step to work collaboratively. It’s forming 14 “sustainable value networks” made up of employees, suppliers and environmentalists. The groups get together regularly to brainstorm about how to advance the Green Strategy. This is what RenGen companies do–they engage their constituents to help create solutions, especially in situations where the company is on a learning curve. It’s a form of Open-Source thinking. Forget pandering or phony gestures for the sake of getting buy-in. For these collaborative networks to succeed, like the one Wal-Mart has created, there has to be an authentic purpose—a grander stake that makes a difference.

One day, I may have to eat my words about Wal-Mart being a dead end brand. Can I have that humble pie at low-low prices?