giants Wal-Mart and Home Depot have both
recently announced Green Supply Chain initiatives
that will potentially add new consumer pressure
to suppliers’ product and packaging
this week announced a new “Living
Better Index” (see Wal-Mart
Launches the Live Better Index with First
Focus on the Environment),
which it says will be “an ongoing
barometer of consumer attitudes and shopping
begin the program, Wal-Mart has decided
to specifically track five specific products,
because consumers can make a conscious decision
to purchase them for their environmentally
friendly and cost-saving benefits versus
conventional versions.” The
items are: compact florescent light bulbs
(CFLs); organic milk; concentrated/reduced-packaging
liquid laundry detergents; extended-life
paper products; and organic baby food.
released some initial findings from the
project, including research that said that
while only 11% of Americans classify themselves
as extremely green today, 43% of Americans
think they will be extremely green in the
next five years.
Depot announced the launch of something
it calls the “Eco Options” program,
which enables customers to easily identify
products that are the most environmentally
friendly of the available product choices.
Home Depot Introduces Eco Options.)
said it identified more than 2,500 “Eco
Option” products, including all-natural
insect repellents, front-loading washing
machines, organic plant food, and vegetables
in biodegradable pots.
In the short
term, the programs will put pressure on
Wal-Mart and Home Depot suppliers to go
more green with their products and supply
chains, both to catch on to what may be
a consumer trend, and also to maintain favor
with the perceived eco-preference Wal-Mart
and now it appears Home Depot have.
In the end,
it will be consumers who determine that
right level of emphasis. Some Wall Street
commentators are skeptical.
on," Scott Rothbort, founder of LakeView
Asset Management, is quoted on The Street.com.
"Be serious. Is there a contractor
in the world who's going to walk into a
Home Depot and say, 'give me the environmentally
friendly stuff?' (The companies are) just
jumping on the Al Gore global warming bandwagon."