Wal-Mart Chief Offers a Social Manifesto

Wal-Mart is talking to leaders of the automobile industry about selling electric or hybrid cars — and might even install windmills in its parking lots so customers could recharge their cars with renewable electricity.

Published: 25-Jan-2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wal-Mart pledged Wednesday to cut the energy used by many of its products 25 percent, to force the chain’s suppliers to meet stricter ethical standards and to apply its legendary cost-cutting skills to help other companies deliver health care for their employees.

In a lofty address that at times resembled a campaign speech, the chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores, H. Lee Scott Jr., said that “we live in a time when people are losing confidence in the ability of government to solve problems.” But Wal-Mart, he said, “does not wait for someone else to solve problems.”

He then laid out sweeping plans for the company on several health and environmental issues, and he hinted that even more ambitious goals might be on the horizon. Mr. Scott said, for instance, that Wal-Mart is talking to leaders of the automobile industry about selling electric or hybrid cars — and might even install windmills in its parking lots so customers could recharge their cars with renewable electricity.

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