Let’s Not Give All the Attention to Wal-Mart

Granted, it’s been difficult (obviously) not to focus hard on Wal-Mart’s recent announcements concerning social and environmental responsibility, but, as this article from ENN demonstrates, many retailers are moving towards more energy-efficient and sustainable stores.

Retailers are among the busiest builders on the American landscape, and they receive criticism for everything from the style of the structures to the traffic they attract. Driven by a mix of reasons from public relations to saving money to a desire to be more responsible, a growing number are experimenting with more environmentally sensitive and energy efficient stores.

From my own perspective, I have to remember not to criticize too loudly when a business’ motivations are less than “pure.” One of the things we’re trying to demonstrate to the business world is the value of a triple-bottom-line approach, and as long as the corporate sector is making genuine efforts, we ought to encourage them regardless of their motivation. I’m still skeptical about corporate behemoths like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s that have such long histories of less than responsible behavior and business models that are inherently unsustainable; I’m very encouraged, though, by smaller businesses and chains that are laying much more on the line by heeding the call of “going green,” even if they primarily see public relations value in such moves.

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