Last week on Sea Change Radio, we spoke with Stacy Mitchell, a researcher and author who believes that Walmart’s sustainability efforts over the past five or six years have only disguised, not improved the tremendous detrimental effects caused by the world’s largest retailer. This week, we hear from a business and sustainability reporter who has a different perspective on Walmart’s green campaign. Marc Gunther thinks that while Walmart still has a long way to go to become a truly responsible corporation, the company’s work in this area represents important steps in the right direction. Gunther and host Alex Wise discuss the parallels of Walmart and Apple’s supply chain troubles including slave-like labor conditions in China, and look at the Walmart situation from both a management and consumer perspective. After hearing both Stacy Mitchell last week and Marc Gunther this week, Sea Change Radio invites you to draw your own conclusions about this retail giant.
Articles Tagged ‘ Sustainable Business ’
Walmart. What does the name of the world’s largest retailer evoke for you? Do you think of its reputation as a poor employer and its anti-union tactics? Do you lump it in your mind with other large corporations who worship profit at the expense of environmental and social justice? Or perhaps you’re among those who respect Walmart’s more recent initiatives to improve its environmental impact, cut back on energy use, and reduce packaging. Today on Sea Change Radio, we begin a two-part series in which we speak with two writers for whom the name Walmart evokes very different things.
This week, host Alex Wise talks with author, researcher and advocate, Stacy Mitchell who recently published a 6-part series for Grist on Walmart’s sustainability efforts. Mitchell believes that the company’s purported efforts to improve its sustainability profile are mostly window dressing, a ploy to change the media narrative of Walmart’s poor track record without actually changing its overall negative global impact. Next week we will hear a contrasting opinion from reporter Marc Gunther who’s written extensively on Walmart, as well. Gunther is more impressed by the company’s sustainability efforts, believing that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good, and that when a giant like Walmart makes moves toward environmental responsibility it is worth taking notice. But first, our discussion with Stacy Mitchell.
It’s the tenth largest city in the United States and the third largest city in California, but San Jose is often overshadowed by its popular neighbor to the north, San Francisco. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk about San Jose and the little-known ways that this big city is leading the charge toward sustainability. Our guest is Councilmember Ash Kalra, who talks with host Alex Wise about the successes and challenges of promoting environmentally sound policy in a city that’s one of the most ethnically and economically diverse in the nation. Councilmember Kalra tells us about the progress being made there, from hybrid busses, to a city-wide plastic bag ban, to the mission to make San Jose a zero-waste city. He also shares with us some of the challenges the city’s policymakers have encountered, including the economic downturn and a pervasive not-in-my-backyard attitude that stands in the way of progress. Listen now as we examine how the lessons learned in this urban microcosm of the United States can be applied to any city working for a greener tomorrow.
Last week on Sea Change Radio, we talked about how a single flight can virtually neutralize all the efforts a family makes in a year to reduce their carbon footprint. As individuals, it’s essential that we begin to fly less, but isn’t there something more that the airlines can do, too? This week, Alex Wise interviews Jim Walsh, Managing Director of Corporate Environmental at American Airlines. He explains how early motivations to become more efficient and sustainable stemmed from rising fuel costs and an associated self-interest in saving money. But these seeds of sustainability began to sprout and the airline now boasts a number of employee-informed solutions, including donating used carpets to animal shelters, plans for burning alternative fuels, replacing heavy food carts with lighter ones, and even serving rain-forest certified coffee.
We profile two pioneers in the local food movement on Sea Change Radio this week. Host Alex Wise speaks with The Breakaway Cook, Eric Gower, about fusing locally-grown food with global flavors and The Ethical Butcher, Berlin Reed, about selecting food from local farms and farmers’ markets. Both guests are commited to sustainability in their food preparation without compromising the search for authentically delicious culinary experiences.
The title of today’s show, which quotes Samuel Coleridge in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, aptly describes the dilemma companies are starting to face when it comes to water management. Today, we speak with Jeff Erikson of SustainAbility, a think tank that recently surveyed experts globally on corporate impacts on water, and Cameron Brooks of IBM’s Big Green Innovations team, which has been focusing on “Smarter Water Management.”
In this fifth episode of our Back To The Future series, we look at how the mighty power of the Connecticut River fueled the birth of manufacturing in Massachusetts — and the country — not just in producing finished goods, like paper and textiles, but also in making the machinery that drove the mills. Click to continue reading and listen to the show…
Heather Lineberry of the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe tells us about Defining Sustainability, a new exhibition at the museum. Native American conceptual artist Kade Twist talks about “Do You Remember When”, the installation he and his fellow Indigenous artists of Postcommodity created for the exhibition. Finally, Beth Paulson of Beyond Green describes the proposed permaculture garden for a hundred year old house that’s getting a deep energy retrofit in Easthampton, MA.
Banks are increasingly viewed as a bane to a healthy economy. But done right, banks can play a key role in the shift to sustainability. Today, Sea Change presents three perspectives on futures for banking. Peter Blom, CEO of Triodos Bank in the Netherlands, proposes a shift in the mission of banks, from maximizing profit to maximizing sustainability. Doug Rushkoff, author of LIFE INC, discusses how a surplus of debt that banks needed to sell triggered the financial meltdown. And Lyle Estill describes the role a chapter in his book SMALL IS POSSIBLE played in a local currency in North Carolina, The Plenty, being carried by a local bank.