For the Greener Good? Not quite, Wal-Mart


Now I’m not normally one to get indignant in the face of corporate BS, but this one just really rubbed me the wrong way.

Wal-Mart has been pushing their “For the Greener Good” initiative since the green living bandwagon kicked into full force some time ago, and for the most part I applaud them. As a company they’ve made some excellent decisions, and their corporate responsibility regarding environmental concerns has improved drastically. I totally get that one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch, but walking into my local Wal-Mart and seeing what I saw sent me into a Hulk-like rage.


Not only was the store lighting at 100% (something that had been reduced by 1/3 nationwide back in 2007 to conserve electricity), but every single display model lamp was plugged in and turned on to their brightest settings.

I really am a big supporter of what Wal-Mart is doing with their For the Greener Good campaign. You can read all about it on their company website. It’s just a shame that this one store doesn’t seem to get the message.

Am I just being too energy-conscious? Or is this a ridiculous waste of electricity?

41 responses to “For the Greener Good? Not quite, Wal-Mart”

  1. prob says:

    wow…i had a interview at walmart today..and when they asked me about what attracted me to work at walmart..i made up something about how they were pursuing the environmentally friendly plan..hybrid trucks, solar panels in california etc etc…i really believed they were trying hard..i probably should have taken a look around the store

  2. E says:

    you know what irks me? the new bagless thing at Superstore, I don’t mind bringing a bag, I’m all for it but give me some benefits from it too (like lower prices, like the other bagless grocery stores)! They don’t even bag your stuff anymore, which is awkward since the bagging areas aren’t as large as the Price Chopper etc.

  3. smartmama says:

    On the other hand, I was impressed with the new Walmart Superstore at Markham Rd in Steeles in Scarborough. That’s the first time I have seen motion sensitive lighting in the freezer section. It only comes on briefly as you pass by.

  4. Elsa L'Abbe says:

    I agree with you, we try our best to conserve energy, turn off lights and reduce consumption but stores are ridiculous, they leave all the lights on. Many times I have seen this happen, in many stores, including Walmart. There is no excuse for this, no reason for every lamp to be lit up at the brightest, really poor, Walmart… We are not impressed with you. I shop at Walmart all the time, and like the store, but this disappoints me,

  5. Elsa L'Abbe says:

    Just reading about the sensitive lighting, I did see that at a new Walmart store in Brossard, Quebec, at the 1030 shopping centre. This is great, let’s hope more will be done like this, especially in the other stores who dont’t respect this.

  6. Elsa L'Abbe says:

    After shopping at Maxi, in Quebec, I was shocked to see no more bags were being offered, none at all, unless you wanted to buy some. Hurray! I love this! Please other stores, stop giving out plastic bags and people will be forced to bring their own.

  7. haya says:

    i like to turn off lamps like that that are on when i am around those displays in store.

  8. mlongboat says:

    yeah. they could make signs to put on the lamp the say “try me I work”. But really, I dont know why you need to try a lamp. I guess Im not picky about my lighting:)

  9. bambinoitaliano says:

    Were they plug in for the benefit of consumers to turn them on? As consumers who are looking for lamps , would you expect the convenience of the lamp to be plug in or you prefer looking for a salesperson on the floor to try it. Given the way retailers are these days you’ll be lucky to find one person on the floor. I think the best solution is to higher a nun with a big ruler walking up and down the aisle. She should smack those who turn on the lights and leave it on. Or anyone who put their coffee cups or used tissues all over the shelves. Yup! Swine flu is not necessarily come from swine , just another name to call people pigs. Perhaps you should work in retails and find out how disgusting a lot of the shoppers can be. I did.

  10. Shaun says:

    Having the lights on at 100% is completely unnecessary, and totally against the image Wal-Mart has been creating for itself lately. I guess this Wal-Mart is a little slow.

  11. enileo says:

    wow thats strange. the walmart in hamilton sure conserves energy by reducing the ceiling lights and none of the lamps are ever on.

  12. benji says:

    They’re SUPPOSED to have some of the overhead lights off. That’s a company-wide mandate…no?

  13. Matt says:

    Wal-mart seems to specialize in drawing pr from inititives that doen’t cost Walmart anything. Case in point…the Walmart scorecard on packaging from manufacturers. They [the manufacturers] pay to reduce packaging while Wal-mart takes the glory.
    Loblaws has truely done more by taking the risk of forcing us shoppers to use re-usable bags.
    Cutting light consumption….making more environoment friendly stores has been done by many retailers.

  14. NSangel says:

    Jim, I understand exactly where your comming from! I had the exact same experience not too long ago, when they were renovating our superstore, and they made a whole mall section for the JOE clothing line. When you walked into the foyer of the superstore, they had 12 tv sets all stacked up like a display all on and playing the JOE fresh ad.

    I was so appalled i flipped off an email to headoffice.

    SUPERSTORE, can u imagine? they were the ones that I recall initiating the whole packing in green boxes movement to save on bags! I was FLOORED.

    thankfully, the next visit those tv sets were GONE!!

    so people, when u see something like that, flip off an email to their head office and show them exactly how hypocritical they are. i mean comeone, 12 tv sets blasting the same ad?

    oh and i worded it nicely to them too. I told them that their JOE FRESH clothing line was so BRIGHT that they advertised themselves, no tv’s needed. 😀

  15. NSangel says:

    btw, i did do a thread here on superstores irresponsibility and i cut and pasted the link so they could see that i was informing the world. think that might have helped to unplug them.

  16. Danielle says:

    Haya, I do that too! The lights don’t need to be so I turn them off!

  17. Mandi says:

    You ought to call 1-800-WALMART. You speak to a live rep. They really do listen to their customers. As someone who worked at a Walmart in the States, I found that they truly truly are doing some major things for sustainability. Sometimes you just don’t realize some areas where you aren’t making the mark.

  18. Chantal says:

    Even in this day and age, some people are still really clueless when it comes to energy conservation, even when it can save money! Whoever was responsible for the lighting is not only clueless about energy conservation, but also Walmart policy.

  19. JT says:

    I would turn off these lights and complain to the manager.

  20. Carla says:

    I don’t understand why any store needs as many lights as they have; its ridiculous. I work at Starbucks and we’re not supposed to have any burnt out bulbs in the store; most of don’t even notice if half the bulbs are gone unless you’re REALLY focusing on it because heck…half lit is still bright enough!
    I have to say though, if you’re worried about being “green” on your life…you shouldn’t be shopping at Walmart very often at all.

  21. Judy Z says:

    I almost died laughing when our local Walmart launched their “Greener Good” campaign. They turned off a few lights but installed what must be 50 massive TV screens all around the store, checkouts, etc blaring 24 hours a day to tell us how green they are. Ugh!

  22. Sally says:

    Lmao Walmart hasnt drastically done anything to help the enviroment. Ask them how many times a week they fill their dumpsters of perfectly good items.

  23. ThatguyRob says:

    I used to work at walmart and IF YOU EVER get the key to a bin you will SEE the perfectly good items they throw away. It was mind boggling sofas, tvs thrown away cause of minor cosmetic issue. Don’t they send them back to the factory or something or is it insured?

  24. Calvin says:

    Now I am all for being green and what not but one thing that needs to be understood is that most electricity in North America is not a limited resource. For instance I don’t think I have ever lived in a city that did not recieve its electricity from Dams. Now if it took oil, or natural gas to turn those lights on I would most likely say turn them off, but we have alot of electricity in our system, hence why the electric car is making a come back, because electricity is renewable, gas and oil is not. So at the risk of sounding rude just sit back and breath. Maybe their extra electricity bill will help boost our economy.

  25. tattoodprincess says:

    not only is that a waste of energy but against one of the new company policies. Wal Mart has new rules sent out to all store managers they have to follow. One is we’re supposed to run at reduced lighting, most store have decided to use the summer lighting scheme (one row on, one row off). Display lamps arent even supposed to be plugged in, let alone turned on. Some of you may have noticed Wal Mart has been a little quiet lately? Its part of the quiet store initiative. Step one was shutting off the loudspeaker music. (That will soon change as I know my store alone has received dozens of complaints from customers for the store being “too quiet”) The next step, some Wal Marts are supposed to be switching from loudspeaker pages, to headsets like Zellers. We, as cashiers, are also under strict rules to reduce bags as much as possible, and recycle the ones returned items come in when you come to the Courtesy desk. As far as Wal Mart throwing away “perfectly good items”, I’ve yet to see this happen at my store. When an item is found defective, whether by return, in shipping or on the shelf, the item is tagged, taken to Claims, written up, and shipped back to the manufacturer. The only items that get thrown away are food items. If you see something in your Wal Mart that worries you, by all means PLEASE call the 1-800 number!!!! In some cases, Wal Mart may send you a gift card for bringing issues to their attention. Head office cant know about problems unless they’re told, and of course because all stores are told before a visit from H.O. they’ll do what needs to be done to pass inspection then go back to their ways. And yes, some of have already complained about the display t.v.s being on all day, but when they get paid to show a movie on each screen, they let it play. They are shut off at night though, in case you’re wondering =:]

  26. Green~PI says:

    Well before you pull the trigger, maybe you should check to ensure it wasn’t a Wal-mart customer’s misbehavin’ children going around turning on all the lights or a negligent customer who decided to turn on the lamp to check it out and left it on. . . hmmmm innocent until proven guilty? or hangem’ high?

  27. Matt says:

    Walmart green? Only when it comes to money in the bank.
    This company has been number 1 when it comes to encouraging North American manufacturers to pack up and leave (along with our jobs). Why not if you can get people in third world countries to work for pennies an hour. Also third world countries don’t have strict environmental laws. All these consumer goods now have to travel half way around the world (that real green) just to come to North America.
    I think we have to take this public relations promos about being friendly to the environment with a grain of salt.

  28. Matt says:

    as green as they want to make the store “appear” to the general public, the consumer neglects to understand that maybe 90% of the stuff from Wal-mart is imported from China or elsewhere overseas. That means massive oil consuming boats transportating everything back and forth. When Wal-mart increases their capacity and business, the shipping must increase as well so as green as they are, their still in the negative with regards to their carbon footprint in my book.

    P.S. BUY LOCAL!!!!! buying wal-mart doesnt stimulate our economy.

  29. Katie says:

    WHO CARES??? This whole “go green” religion is such scam. The planet is not going to burn up in a fiery ball if there are some lamps left on in a store. If wal-mart chooses to spend their money on a higher than necessary electricity bill, LET THEM. You are the one who chose to shop there. Don’t go “armed” with your camera so you can publicly “tsk, tsk” them for having LIGHTS on. Last time I checked, lights are sort of a necessity for a business. Sorry you don’t agree with the number they chose to put on that day.

  30. George says:

    I am 100% in agreement with Katie. I for one am sick and tired of this “green” religion. Or as they say “green” is the new “red”. It has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with the government getting more and more of their tentacles into our personal lives. If nutbars that believe in this propaganda want to live like this, go for it. It’s a free country, BUT I draw the line when the lunatic fringe starts to invade the lives of ordinary citizens with junk science and crackpot theories.

    I drive an SUV and I am NOT worried in the least if I am causing Global { warming/ cooling/ climate change™ } No matter how many facts you give the zealots that have bought this theory hook, line, and sinker they won’t let facts get in the way of their emotions. Not to mention that the oceans CO2 and that there is a burning ball of fire in sky we call the sun that effects the heat on earth more so than any Chevy Tahoe ever could.

    Leave WalMart alone. Don’t shop there if you have such a problem with it. It’s a free country. Stick to giving info on deals and keep the politics out of it.

  31. deaner says:

    The one thing that ticks me off about these stores doing ‘green’ things is that they only do green things that cost them nothing to do or saves them money. I give kudos to zehrs for taking a risk and going bagless, even if that saves them money they risked irking people. kudos to the Bay in Waterloo, the spent money installing solar panels and windmills on the store.

  32. Sally says:

    I worked at Walmart for a bit and I have 5 friends that work their full time, basically if an item has minor damage or is a perfectly good return about 50% if not more ends up in the dumpster.

    I once saw them knife a leather recliner before throwing it in the dumpster.

    So wasteful.

    It isn’t just Walmart either a lot of places do this.

  33. Dave says:

    I think maybe you should blame the stores management/staff and not the wal-mart brand as this is certainly an isolated incident, I havent see this in any walmart’s around here.

    As per them throwing things away, every single store does that, canadian tire trashes everything in a giant compactor before throwing it away, even if it just has damaged packaging.

  34. Hmm says:

    All the corporate offices have their lights brightly lit all night even though nobody is in the building.
    Your picture at Wal-mart just somehow reminded me of that.

  35. theantigore says:

    Wow, earlier today I was certain I felt the planet warming up and sure enough here’s the cause! My gosh, just thinking about a half dozen lamps on in a store makes me want to spit up my tofu. We would all be so much better off if we just turned off lamps, stopped driving, washed our clothes less, bathed less, and ate out of dumpsters. In fact I implore all you good tree hugging, sandal wearing, bean sprout eating, hemp wearing citizens to turn off your lights, heat, I-Pods, and most importantly computers and take the money you save to purchase a ticket to India where you can live in the third world utopia you so desire. I love your value system, I also notice many of you are current or former Wal-Mart employees…hmmm… not judging, just observing.

  36. Jim Squires says:

    I try to make it a policy to not comment back to trolls on threads I’ve written, but I feel the need to point one thing out;

    Conservation SAVES MONEY.

    If they’re using less utilities, their costs are lower. If it’s a company wide move, the company’s costs are lower. If it swings the other way, guess who pays for it?

    Whether or not your personal decision impact the planet or not isn’t really up to me to say. Lord knows scientists can’t seem to agree. But common sense says that “if we just turned off lamps, stopped driving, washed our clothes less, bathed less” we’re going to save money.

    Guess what naysayers — a lot of us live our lives that way. Only use light when you need to? Cheaper electric bill. Rewear jeans or shower instead of bathe? Water bill goes down.

    Whether it helps the planet or not, green living helps your wallet. If you don’t like the sound of that, I can’t imagine why you’re reading this site.

  37. theantigore says:

    I concur with your stance Jim, if in fact saving money is the goal then bravo, we probably agree more than we disagree. My point was not to question ones frugality but rather to make a comment on the pervasive troglodyte attitudes espoused by so many “greens”. I have seen a premium charged on many products simply because they profess to be “green”. Paying more for the word “eco” has, in my opinion become a sort of self-aggrandizing status symbol showing that “I care more than you do”. I’m all for keeping money in my pocket, but for personal, not eco-political reasons.

    P.S. I would avoid any future “Hulk-like” rages in Wal-Mart, you might get tazed!

    The Troll

  38. Jacko says:

    Jim my Dude, YOU ARE BEING TOO ENERGY-CONSCIOUS! But too bad you limited your panorama of ‘wasting of energy’ to a SINGLE Wal-mart’s store operation. To spare you my humongous disagreements in your standpoint, I will only discuss two things.

    First, Wal-mart’s store operations depend on the management. If this particular Wal-mart store that you visited planned to strategically turn on the lights to increase their sales or whatever, then this should be none of the customers’ business. This decision depended on ONLY one or two people in the store so we shall not GENERALIZE this as a Wal-mart trend, which you kind of conveyed in your heading. Talk to the manager if you must.

    And second, just because Wal-mart is promoting ‘green’ doesn’t forbid them on turning on at most 20 lamps in ONE of their thousand stores. The Canadian Government also promotes ‘green’ but have you seen the Toronto’s City Hall at night? The lights are ON in at least one entire floor even though no one’s actually there. Calculating the electricity wasted, which is wasting more energy? How about if you try to expand this vision to all skyscrapers in Canada like the CN Tower which displays lovely lights all night long? Probably you wouldn’t protest on how they “waste energy” because ‘they are not promoting to be GREEN’, right? In short, you focused too much on Wal-mart’s electrical flaw just because of its publicized ‘green’ propaganda, but you falied to consider IN GENERAL how other establishments can do much worse.

    Ntw, not every single lamp on display is turned on. Near the bottom right corner, there’s actually one that’s not. :p


  39. Matt says:

    “Ntw, not every single lamp on display is turned on. Near the bottom right corner, there’s actually one that’s not.”~Jacko

    That one burned out! LOL

  40. Matt says:

    This is kind of neat. Check it out:

    Loblaw Installs First Wind Turbine to Support Store Energy Consumption
    Atlantic Superstore in Porters Lake, Nova Scotia, to gain energy efficiencies through the use of wind technology

    BRAMPTON – Continuing to build on its position as one of the leaders in energy management and efficiency, Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) is pleased to announce the installation of a wind turbine at its Atlantic Superstore in Porters Lake, Nova Scotia. Once fully operational, the wind turbine, supplied by Scotian WindFields Inc., will provide approximately 25 per cent of the Superstore’s power.

    Click below to read this article:

  41. Alex says:

    Few Canadian companies disclose environmental practices

    “Loblaw Cos. Ltd. (L-T40.21-0.19-0.47%), Canada’s largest grocery chain operator, tops the ranking of corporate responsibility in the country…”


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