The Green Room or The War Room

Environmental differentiation has been the key trait for firms like Seventh Generation and Patagonia. Their very foundation was built on sustainability values that challenged the existing business practices and thus, bringing a new era of the loyal green consumer. The communication through the social media and blogs have been at the fore of connecting with this green segment – perhaps a very important differentiator – from the bigger players.

But what happens when those bigger players – read, Walmart enter the blogosphere and create their own war room or more formally called as “The Green Room” with a mission to create a more sustainable world to help people live better?

Does the differentiator factor of the niche players get diminised? Perhaps, slightly – that I say because those niche players have something that Walmart has always struggled to gain – trust and transparency. And that is what this Green Room blog hopes to achieve.

On the positive note, the impact gets scaled many times up – as Walmart’s hundreds of thousands of suppliers are forced to switch to more sustainable forms of business practices. Walmart’s 3 BHAG’s or Bold, Audacious and Hairy Goals of

  • To be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy
  • To create zero waste
  • To sell products that sustain our resources and the environment

are measurable, realistic and sustainable – and the Green Room will act as a course corrector in the right direction. Because even if these targets are met, which Walmart is fiercely working at, the conversations held with NGO’s, suppliers and stakeholders in this room will have the possibility of tilting the scales.

Will it help promote the cause of sustainability? Will it cause higher consumption, albeit sustainable one?

Whatever it achieves, one thing is certain – the positive influence that it is exerting on other companies can’t be overlooked.

Perhaps, this Green Room, is actually a War Room – war within Walmart and the war with outsiders. That is the way it has to be viewed to make any measurable impact.

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