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Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Wal-Mart's Green Revolution Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 10, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
"Tell me why I should care...when I just want to build a store?"
"Think about sustainability this way," the Wal-Mart executive was told, "Your company generates a huge amount of waste. Right now, the company pays people to haul most of it away. Some is recycled, and the rest is put into landfills: a growing environmental problem. That is the opposite of sustainability. The more sensible approach would be, first, to reduce the waste by making packaging and processing more efficient and second, to recognize that the waste has value that can be recaptured instead of dumped in a landfill.
"[If] Wal-Mart were sustainable, it would be making money from its waste, not paying to deal with it."
This got their attention.
I'm intrigued as anyone about the philosophical re-structuring that has been taking place for the past 6 years at Wal-Mart.
Although, I must admit, I am not a Wal-Mart shopper, the idea that THIS company, who's notorious for its egregious business practices from exploiting foreign manufacturing workers to the friendly faces who greet you at the store's entrance by embracing a left-of-center environmentalist approach to doing business was downright appealing.
Wal-Mart, as we all know, was the brainchild of Sam Walton.Read more ›
Walmart has gone through myriad changes over the years. Some of the changes were due to lawsuits, others were due to bad press. Environmental sustainability was initially started as kind of an answer to all of the bad press.
To be fair it was because of the bottom line that Walmart started being more environmentally aware. Reading through the history of Walmart you can easily see why they needed to change their business practices and create a new paradigm.
It was very interesting for me to read about the sustainability studies that Walmart conducted. Some of the results of those studies were released to the public through various methods including the stores. Needless to say many peoples rechargeable batteries, first CFL's, first items made from recycled materials(shoes) all have come from Walmart.
This environmental change, this way of doing business has been an incredible opportunity for Walmart. At the same time it has also improved profits for the company.
Mr. Humes has wrote a very insightful book that I really enjoyed reading.
But, this book amazed me. If Wal-Mart were a country, it would be the 20th largest. That's big, and that's a lot of power, so when one man with a vision, convinced CEO Lee Scott that he could both regain a positive image for his company, and save money, Wal-Mart was on board. Simple measures like reducing packaging might not mean much, but when a giant like Wal-Mart does it, 4,000 trees at a time can be saved. And that's just one child's toy. Jib Ellison, a river guide from California, showed Wal-Mart how to become a leader in the idea of sustainability, and Wal-Mart actually took his advice.
Then came Hurricane Katrina, and Wal-Mart again stepped up to the plate with trucks of food, clothing and water provided at no cost to the victims. Store managers broke into their stores to hand out supplies, and were praised afterwards, instead of fired for their innovation and their compassion.
The author, Edward Humes does a remarkable job of giving us the details into the workings of Sam Walton's stores, from his first five and dime store, to his retirement. Every detail is not only covered into this book, but understood. Humes shows us the inside workings of this giant corporation, a view that I never would have guessed from what is seen on the outside. What I found most remarkable, was how one man with an idea can literally change the world, and sometimes save it.Read more ›
'Force of Nature' tells part of the story behind how Wal-Mart learned that social responsibility could be profitable - both in terms of direct financial benefit, and improved public relations as well. First, initiatives taken by mid-level managers post Katrina brought enormous goodwill to Wal-Mart - handing out supplies, drugs, clothing, etc. without charge; offering space for relief worker headquarters, trucking in ice and fresh water, etc. Secondly a few early wins such as finding that reduced packaging size for toys used less cardboard and allowed more efficient shipping.
The 'bad news' is that 'Force of Nature' doesn't do a very good job explaining how Wal-Mart learned to take a broad, system focus on cost reduction - eg. its milk and milk products sector, not just milk producers, milk transporters, milk processors, etc., individually.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have a look at this book before you call Walmart's sustainability efforts "greenwashing." You'll be surprised at how much has been done (and 5 more years of work have been... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Bash
Five stars to Edward Humes for a remarkably even-handed book about a deservedly controversial retailer. Read morePublished on April 25, 2013 by watzizname
The story about WalMart told in this book sounds great. Forward looking CEO, big plans for sustainable development, focus on reduction of packaging waste, etc. Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by Cecil Bothwell
Edward Humes must know some people at Walmart because he details the complete history of the sustainability movement within the world's largest retailer. Read morePublished on February 4, 2013 by KierONeil
I must say from the start that I am not a fan of Walmart and it's business practices. This is a very good overview of efforts made within the corporation using respected... Read morePublished on December 27, 2012 by Doug Milligan
Force of Nature reveals some conventional wisdom of how the green movement can collaborate with business to improve both aspects. Read morePublished on September 20, 2012 by N. Skinner
Wal-Mart is a huge but mysterious company to many people. There have been many news stories about some questionable business practices and the way they handle employees. Read morePublished on July 19, 2012 by eric m.
Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Wal-Mart's Green Revolution (Hardcover)
Force of Nature by Edward Humes tells the complicated story of Walmart's adoption of green... Read more
In a rather surprisingly terse account, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes recounts a most unlikely alliance between former river guide and environmental... Read morePublished on April 5, 2012 by John Kwok