Monday, May 16, 2011

Going green

Not so long ago (Feb 7, 2008), the NY Times included "In Many Communities, It's Not Easy Going Green."  Going green is not a free lunch.

But yesterday's NY Times included a review ("Behind the Greening of Wal-Mart") of Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Wal-Mart's Green Revolution (which I have not yet read).  Apparently, attention to the bottom line made them "go green."

Can both be true?  Of course.  Management has to make customers happy and some may choose green products and retailing in their shopping.  Management also has to please various local governments and any hurdles they put up.  And management has to be able to post performance numbers that impress capital markets.

They can apparently do all three up to a point.  Decent management is, after all, a full-time activity of dynamic discovery of new ways to do just about everything the company does.  This is how and why a behemoth can remain successful -- unlike some others we can name that look for hand-outs to stay alive.

This does not mean that Wal-Mart's managers will follow the environmentalist playbook, but perhaps the story will move some commentators away from the tired juxtaposition of "business vs. consumers" or "business vs. the environment" or you name it.