Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wha wha whaaaaaaaat?

I know the above Walmart photoshop is pushing the envelope a bit, but it does feel like we're saturated in green news from the megacompany. They're hosting environmental consortiums, making their stores environmentally *cough* friendly, and even going so far as to recycle their former employee's vests.

So what has all this alleged environmental leadership done for the company? According to activist Adam Werbach, not much. As former President of the Sierra Club (at 23!) his clients were outraged to find out he had joined teams with the big boys. He was quickly fired just for associating with them.

Apparently, Walmart's reputation still precedes them. Can they ever recover?

Working With the Enemy

Once the youngest president of the Sierra Club, Adam Werbach used to call Wal-Mart toxic. Now the company is his biggest client. Does the path to a greener future run through Bentonville?

From: Issue 118 September 2007 Page 74 By: Danielle Sacks

“To this day, they won't speak to me," says Adam Werbach. His clients--or rather, his old clients--fired him when word got out last year that he was doing work for Wal-Mart. Of course, many people make compromises to do business with the largest company in the world--accept lower profit margins, absorb relentless performance pressure. But for Werbach, 34, a lifelong environmentalist, the cost of working with Wal-Mart has been personal. Some of his old friends don't speak to him. His former colleagues think he's sold out. And then there are the threats. "I attended this event and someone came up to me," recalls Werbach, his discomfort still fresh. "He said, 'I wouldn't feel safe if I were you. People have gotten hurt.'" Werbach has stopped speaking in public without special security.

He has made a leap that is either visionary or naive, depending on your perspective. He's been a leader in the environmental world, president of the Sierra Club at just 23, author of a 1997 book Act Now, Apologize Later that called Wal-Mart "a new breed of toxin" that "could wreak havoc on a town." He was such an iconoclast, he'd publicly challenged old-line environmentalists in a speech in 2004.

But in signing on to Wal-Mart last year, he went too far, driving off even those nonprofits who still did business with his small consulting firm, Act Now. They didn't want the help of someone who would sell his services to the Behemoth of Bentonville.

Folks at the Sierra Club, which funds the watchdog Wal-Mart Watch, begged him to reconsider, and activists John Sellers and Barbara Dudley wrote an open letter headlined, "The Death of Integrity: In Working With Wal-Mart, Activist Adam Werbach Is Abandoning His Principles."


Read more HERE.