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.
Good Guide is a web-based index that scores products from food and beverage to apparel and appliances on their health, environmental and societal impacts, allowing consumers to be truly informed. Good Guide also has a mobile app, so you can literally scan the barcode of the product that interests you, see how it rates, and be directed to products in that category with the highest ratings. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Dara O’Rourke, co-founder and chief sustainability officer of Good Guide.
Corporate social responsibility or CSR. What is it, exactly? The Wikipedia entry says “The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for a company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment…and members of the public.” Sounds really good. But not everyone involved in this sort of work embraces the term CSR. Today on Sea Change Radio we’ll talk with Carol Sanford who believes her approach to responsible business is distinct from CSR. And, for those of you who are long-time listeners, you’ll be happy to hear from our second guest, Bill Baue, CSR pioneer and Sea Change Radio Founder. Baue provides a thorough overview of what CSR is and could be, and speaks to why some consultants pushing the business sector to be more mindful of its environmental and social impact don’t use the term CSR.
Our guests this week on Sea Change Radio talk about the development of green luxury, and suggest that products that are both luxurious and sustainable may be an important trend. First, Sea Change Radio host, Alex Wise, speaks with Dr. Jem Bendell, a sustainability professor, consultant and author. Next, Alex talks to Beth Gerstein, the Co-founder and Co-Ceo of Brilliant Earth, a socially responsible jewelry company.
Green luxury. The two concepts seem diametrically opposed. We usually equate sustainable lifestyle with one involving sacrifices – driving a smaller car, turning down the AC, or reaching deeper into our wallets to buy pesticide-free fruit. And we think of luxury as something involving “no sacrifice.” But ever-increasing consumer awareness and demand, coupled with product innovation has led us to the dawn of the green luxury age. One in which sacrifices can be minimal.Read the show transcript
Bill Baue interviews a number of featured speakers from the 2010 Ceres conference:
Ceres CEO MindyLubber talks about the goals for the conference as well as an overview of some of the key issues facing the Corporate Social Responisibility (CSR) field. Dorjee Sun of Carbon Conservation explains how this carbon offset project developer is creating carbon markets by protecting forests through their reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) program. Canadian activist Maude Barlow talks about the role of corporations in the world’s water supply and reports on the climate justice summit from Cochabamba, Bolivia. And Steve Fludder of GE talks about his company’s ecomagination initiative.