Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Wal-Mart's Green Revolution

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Harper Collins, May 10, 2011 - Business & Economics - 272 pages
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What happens when a renowned river guide teams up with the CEO of one of the largest and least Earth-friendly corporations in the world? When it's former Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott and white-water expert turned sustainability consultant Jib Ellison, the result is nothing less than a green business revolution.

Wal-Mart—long the target of local businesses, labor advocates, and environmentalists who deplore its outsourced, big-box methods—has embraced an unprecedented green makeover, which is now spreading worldwide. The retail giant that rose from Sam Walton's Ozarks dime store is leveraging the power of 200 million weekly customers to drive waste, toxics, and carbon emissions out of its stores and products. Neither an act of charity nor an empty greenwash, Wal-Mart's green move reflects its river guide's simple, compelling philosophy: that the most sustainable, clean, energy-efficient, and waste-free company will beat its competitors every time. Not just in some distant, utopian future but today.

From energy conservation, recycling, and hybrid trucks to reduced packaging and partnerships with environmentalists it once met only in court, Wal-Mart has used sustainability to boost its bottom line even in a tough economy—belying the age-old claim that going green kills jobs and profits. Now the global apparel business, the American dairy industry, big agriculture, and even Wall Street are following Wal-Mart's lead, along with the 100,000 manufacturers whose products must become more sustainable to remain on Wal-Mart's shelves. Here Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author Edward Humes charts the course of this unlikely second industrial revolution, in which corporate titans who once believed profit and planet must be at odds are learning that the best business just may be a force of nature.


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Intriguing inside story of how immovable Walmart met the irresistible force of sustainability
In 2004, as news stories portrayed Walmart as an unthinking despoiler of the natural world, CEO Lee
Scott teamed up with Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting to make the retailing giant greener. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes describes Walmart’s voyage to environmental enlightenment. He recounts Walmart’s well-known dark side – for instance, its often-criticized employment policies – and wonders if any business so large can be sustainable. But Humes illuminates Walmart’s leadership and innovation regarding sustainability, and proves that “green” business can be a fiscal plus. Walmart became notably more green not because it was the right thing to do, but because it was profitable. And like the Grinch that stole Christmas, Walmart’s actions appear to have made its heart grow a few sizes. getAbstract recommends this quick, uplifting read about an American giant getting trim to face the future.
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About the author (2011)

Edward Humes is the author of ten critically acclaimed nonfiction books, including Eco Barons, Monkey Girl, Over Here, School of Dreams, Baby E.R., Mean Justice, No Matter How Loud I Shout, and the bestseller Mississippi Mud. He has received the Pulitzer Prize for his journalism and numerous awards for his books. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sierra. He lives in California.

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