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Wal-Mart and Sustainability: A Consumer Journey. Omar Garriott Megan Ryskamp Kathryn Wendell Haas School of Business May 6, 2009. A Wal-Mart World. Today’s Agenda. Wal-Mart : the Corporate Force and the Corporate Citizen Overview of Project and Process Case Studies : Lessons Learned

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Wal mart and sustainability a consumer journey

Wal-Mart and Sustainability: A Consumer Journey

Omar Garriott

Megan Ryskamp

Kathryn Wendell

Haas School of Business

May 6, 2009

Today s agenda
Today’s Agenda

  • Wal-Mart: the Corporate Force and the Corporate Citizen

  • Overview of Project and Process

  • Case Studies: Lessons Learned

  • Store Visits: Lessons Learned

  • Ideas and Scenarios

  • Additional Recs and Implementation

  • Q&A

Overview of project scope
Overview of Project Scope

  • The index: A “new global standard”

    • Several years away from launch

    • Components:

      • Energy & Climate (~45%)

      • Material Efficiency (~25%)

      • Natural Resources (~15%)

      • People & Community (~15%)

    • Being built by a team of experts and academics

  • We focused on…

    • The intervening years

    • The consumer-facing piece

    • Breadth and creativity

Process methodology
Process / Methodology

  • Selected criteria for evaluating case studies and ideas generated:

  • Envelope-pushing AND do-able

  • Relevance to Wal-Mart and index specifically

  • Demonstrated success

  • Potential to provide a competitive advantage to Wal-Mart

  • Strategic alignment

  • Potential revenue driver: More than just cost-cutting

  • Deliverables:

  • PPT

  • Paper with full research / recs

Case studies
Case Studies


Marks &








Case studies lessons learned
Case Studies: Lessons Learned

  • Keep it simple! Avoid confusing consumers with quantitative data or multiple labels

Nutrition Facts

Weight Watchers


Case studies lessons learned1
Case Studies: Lessons Learned

Safeway “O Organics”

Energy Star

2) Communicate the value of sustainable products

Emphasize low prices and high quality. Compare cost savings against conventional products.

Case studies lessons learned2
Case Studies: Lessons Learned

Marks & Spencer

3) Empower employees to be sustainability ambassadors  Provide training and incentives for employees to engage in sustainability initiatives.

Wal mart and sustainability a consumer journey

Store Visits: Earth Month

Shopping at Wal-Mart can be overwhelming.

Some observations surprised us.

Wal mart and sustainability a consumer journey

Store Visits: Earth Month

Wal-Mart has a broad range of sustainable products.

In-store messaging around sustainability is confusing.

Massive wal mart brainstorm
MASSIVE Wal-Mart Brainstorm


Academic Research Findings

Key Case Study Takeaways

In-Store Observations

Wal mart and sustainability a consumer journey

Stakeholder Voices

  • The Hopeful Mom

  • Concerns: safety, health, and education of my family

  • Benefits of “in me” “on me” sustainability

  • Hope for the future

  • Shopping made easy

  • Message value

  • Education donations as reward

  • “Live Better” lifestyle message

Wal mart and sustainability a consumer journey

Stakeholder Voices

  • The Curious Kid

  • Purchase influencer

  • Planet-friendly values

  • Teacher assistance

  • Build early brand awareness

  • Give incentives for participation

  • Sustainability a FUN way for kids to engage

  • Speak in their language: youth celebrities, YouTube, class projects

Wal mart and sustainability a consumer journey

Stakeholder Voices

  • The Eco-Savvy Hipster

  • Viral communicator and influential source of info

  • Skeptical audience

  • Wal-Mart’s past reputation important

  • Seek favorite eco-products: CFLs, fair trade, cleaning products

  • Must surprise and exceed expectations

  • Likely to accuse Wal-Mart of greenwashing

  • Affordable sustainable lifestyle

Wal mart and sustainability a consumer journey

Stakeholder Voices

  • The Informed Associate

  • Sustainability as a motivator for associates

  • Incorporated in new hire training

  • Rewards (non-monetary) for knowledge/training

  • Sustainability = FUN

  • Involve friends & family

  • Encourage associate – customer eco-interaction

  • Won’t be the panacea

  • Will reinforce community values

Wal mart and sustainability a consumer journey


PSP Lesson Plans

Games/Interactive Shopping Cart

In-Store Sustainability Scanners

Eco-Friendly Shopping Carts

Eco Rewards Competition

Earth Friendly Kid Product Demos

YouTube, Kid Celebrities

Green Bins, Signs, Tags

“Live Better” Brand

Partnership Tags

Sustainable Shopping List

Eco Points for Schools

Monthly Impact Update

Green Belt Status

Checkout Statement

Train the Trainer

Ask Me Badge

Rewards & Bonuses

Friends & Family Discounts

Scavenger Hunt

Customer PSP Participation

Public Employee Blog

Associate Training

Organic/Local Foods

Credible Partners

Celebrity Tweets

Electric Vehicle Recharge Stations

Flagship Sustainable Brands/Products

Robust Supporting Data

Eco Deal Announcements

Farmer Video Testimonies


“Live Better” Brand

“Green” signals

Associate program

Message across media

Green Belts and PSP Champions

School programs


Index launch plan

Index launch

Interactive store technology (carts, scanners)

Plug-in parking lot

Impact statement at check-out

For the next haas team
For the next Haas team…

  • How can Wal-Mart measure consumer readiness and success of the index?

  • What should the roles of other stakeholders be?

    • NGOs

    • Governments

    • Competitors/Consortiums

    • Mass Media/PR

  • How can Wal-Mart broaden the index to other countries?

  • Can Wal-Mart leverage social media and web 2.0 to engage customers?

Wal mart the corporate citizen

Be supplied 100% by renewable energy

Create zero waste

Sell products that sustain our resources and environment

Wal-Mart the Corporate Citizen

Case studies lessons learned3
Case Studies: Lessons Learned

4) Connect to consumers’ lifestyle choices & hope

Clarify linkages to: health, well-being, a better future

Marks & Spencer


Case studies lessons learned4
Case Studies: Lessons Learned

Whole Foods

Target’s Re-tote

5) Message “sustainability” clearly and consistently in and out of stores

Case studies lessons learned5
Case Studies: Lessons Learned

Home Depot

Safeway “O Organics”

6) Create your own sustainable brand All stores must consistently stock it.

Case studies lessons learned6
Case Studies: Lessons Learned


7) Encourage active consumer participation


  • A variety of impact metrics (and leading indicators) can and should be used

    • Sustainable product sales vs. conventional

    • Uptick in sustainable product sales throughout the year (not just April)

    • Sales of sustainable products by category

    • # of Associates earning green belts

    • Average purchase sizes

    • Customer loyalty data (surveys and repeat customers)

External facing score
External-Facing Score

  • Simple message & icons

  • Positive (not negative) message

  • Single stamp icon

  • Colors and pictures are better than numbers

  • Separate sustainability into health, people, and planet

  • Test indicators with Live Better Brand

  • Supporting full information

  • Launch on Earth Day 2012