Friday, January 19, 2007

Wal-Mart in Lights

Wal-Mart's greening image turned to emerald a couple of weeks ago when chief executive H. Lee Scott, Jr. announced the ambitious goal of selling 100 million fluorescent light bulbs each year by 2008.

A fluorescent light bulb is an easy way for people to conserve energy, as explained by an article in the New York Times:
It uses 75 percent less electricity, lasts 10 times longer, produces 450 pounds fewer greenhouse gases from power plants and saves consumers $30 over the life of each bulb.
Now, with Wal-Mart's help, this technology could help to reduce the nation's collective energy use.

So why, aside from feeling some social responsibility, is Wal-Mart setting its sights so high and trying to sell so many of these light bulbs? Well, that's up for debate, but as James Kunstler points out in "Making Other Arrangements," an article in the January/February issue of Orion magazine, with less oil will come necessary lifestyle changes that could threaten the Wal-Mart way of life.
We're not going to run Wal-Mart, Walt Disney World, or the Interstate Highway System on solar or wind energy, hydrogen, ethanol, tar sands, oil shale, or anything else you can name. We will desperately use many of these things in many ways, but we are likely to be disappointed in what they can actually do
The more energy we conserve, the less oil we use, and the longer places like Wal-Mart will be able to survive. Regardless of the company's motivation, using less energy is an environmentally friendly endeavor. So put on your sweater and curl up by the fluorescent light.


John R. said...

Walmart seems to be making an attempt lately and it doesn't all seem to be an attempt to get good press for once. See this article in outside magazine last December. It was actually written by a grist columnist too.

Daysha said...

Good PR aside, if the company was to swap all the incandescent lightbulbs in all 6400+ stores with CFLs, the energy savings alone would be enough to hit the balance sheets. I hope that other retailers follow lead. A 75-80% energy savings per bulb for a 5-10 year life is enough to make any large facility think about making the switch.

Anonymous said...

Who knew that Walmart would initiate such an environmentally conscious move? Maybe there is some hope for this planet if big-name companies continue to make positive efforts to help our Earth!

dickens said...

This is at least one shining example of the multi-national corporate world trying to make positive headway - even if it is just a PR move. I think this trend of corporate accountability is becoming more favorable considering that oil giant exxon-mobil has become a major proponent of federal emissions regulations. Unfourtunately, I still remain skeptical in most cases.

On a "light"-er note, those are some rad lightbulbs. I saw one in a lamp once:)