In Part 2 of 2 (disclaimer: Wal Mart is not paying me to say this)
I'm joining my blogging sisters and offering a solution for Climate Change that already has traction - BIG TRACTION - Women using their economic clout to support the market for a greener planet.
CONTEXT: Let's begin with Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Friedman and his comments this past week about "the Solution" yet to be determined...
"... Al Gore has been justly honored for highlighting - like no one else - the climate challenge. But we still need a vision, a strategy, an army and a commander in the White House who can inspire young and old - not only to meet that challenge but to see it it the opportunity to make America a better, stronger and more productive nation. This is our crucible moment." Tom Friedman
I agree on the first point, but not on the second. We need a vision, a strategy, an army - but the leadership isn't going to come from the White House. Ever. At best, Washington can enhance what is already in motion. The answer lies in Time Magazine's Person of the Year - YOU, and another big organism of YOUs - Wal Mart and the 62,000 YOUs in their supplier base.
Tom is a Pulitzer Prize winning author whom I admire. He described capitalism in "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" as being the golden strait jacket, eventually every country will be wearing it. That being the given, Washington can do little but follow the market - and there are 180 global markets according to Tom.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, then we need to quit looking at Washington for answers. Politics/democracy isn't the system running the show - capitalism is. Not only do we need to leverage that system to get us out of this, it is the ONLY system that can. All those greenhouse gases are by-products of manufacturing. The trigger points to change them FAST stem from market pressure, not government.
We literally have months to set the traction for "climate-change-back"- rolling back emissions globally in eight years to sustainable levels. Hopefully this concentrated effort will pay off 200 years from now. Let's support what's working - markets paired with Sustainable Standards.
Al's Alliance 7-Point Pledge is working, just not in the way they asked. Let's look at the pledge points one by one, keeping in mind that Washington has done nothing to make this happen.
1. To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth.
While we're demanding and waiting... Wal Mart sent 11,000 managers to China to help their suppliers gain the same operational savings and green benefits that they've achieved in the US stores and factories. At the same time, they are working with China's government to be respectful of their systems, yet helping them see active solutions. The top 5 out of 10 most polluted cities in the world are in China. We can sign treaties, but eventually it comes down to implementing an action plan, something that makes sense to developing nations. Wal Mart is teaching them how to develop in a Sustainable, yet profitable way. Money is the international language/motivator when it comes to China.
2. To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become "carbon neutral."
Wal Mart launched the S*MART employee project which is a full blown program to help rewire how employees run their personal and professional lives - from bringing their own coffee cup to helping Wal Mart become a ZERO WASTE ZONE. That's 1.2 million employees learning about self-sustainability that they can take back into their homes and communities. This same program is being shared with their 60,000 suppliers. How many millions and millions more is it helping to educate and more importantly motivate. Peer pressure works here, too. I move faster when people I know are holding me accountable.
3. To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2.
Wal Mart has a goal to be using 100% renewable energy by 2025. They are implying that same goal for their 60,000 suppliers. When everyone is reaching for renewable energy on that level, there is no economic need for coal. In fact, it's doomed to fail. The market has spoken. (and remember, they are talking the same talk in China)
4. To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship and means of transportation.
See Point #2 and #3 and add to it that Wal Mart has several pilot plants running on solar, wind and natural light through sky lights, plus a new transportation fleet of trucks to cut down on CO2 emissions. They are sharing their knowledge with competitors. Wal Mart may start the initiative, but everyone benefits. With the technology is tried, tested and approved, then their supply chain starts to implement it too. That brings the cost down on a level that individuals can begin to incorporate it into their green(er) home - on a global level.
5. To fight for laws and policies that expands the use of renewable energy sources and reduces dependence on oil and coal.
Broken record time. The only reason you need a law is because the market doesn't see a revenue stream from it. It sees it now. Solar development is happening at a rapid pace. In about a year you'll see solar farms popping up out of market need, way before anyone is elected. That's happening without Wal Mart's influence, but it certainly propels the initiative along when Wal Mart stats 100% renewable power as a goal. But that's just one thing. Wal Mart embraces all techno-solutions coming their way for trial and then encourages the adoption of the winners throughout its supplier chain.
6. To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests.
The BEST thing YOU can do that will have the MOST impact is ask for FSC certified wood. The Forest Stewardship Council manages that global program that ensures that wood isn't illegally harvested. Wal Mart Buyers ask for FSC wood and they ask their suppliers to ask for and use FSC wood. They can't force them to do it, but if that's what Wal Mart wants - as a manufacturer/supplier, I'd work really hard to get it for them. FSC is a global standard to manage forests in a sustainable way. The more demand, the more sustainable forests will be developed. No laws, just market pressure.
7. To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous world for the 21st century.
This is where the dollar meets the message. Supporting Wal Mart is also supporting thousands of global supplier YOUs that are being asked to become sustainable and to be able to prove it. It's the United Way for "Climate-Change-Back."
Over 190,000 women bought organic cotton yoga outfits because they wanted more than something to wear. It put Wal Mart on a path to building a new organic cotton industry. Today Wal Mart also promotes certified seafood, organic food, jewelry made from well run mining operations and safe electronics. Our purchases and blog postings can keep them on that path without one law from Washington.
Look at the masses of green sites and blogs that are being the voice of reason - that's YOUs talking. We already have the army in motivated consumers who are willing to put their money where their heart is. That's YOUs money talking. We have the weapons to keep companies moving in the right direction with blogs and Sustainable Standards (trust, but verify). We have the global "Commander in Chief" that can inspire and direct global industries of the world - the YOUs inside Wal Mart.
Wal-Mart is no longer a store front or a person, but a virtual economic machine that's creating global tipping points for change. It's power is in the millions of YOUs of employees, suppliers and customers working together. Lee Scott may be at the top, but it he left tomorrow, the machine would still be working its global transformational magic, because of millions of YOUs care.
If you're a lover of Wal Mart, spread the good word. Inspire one another. That's where change happens, during the one-on-one. If you're a hater of Wal Mart, put down the guns or support individual products. Sustainable Standards will weed out the wicked and only the greenest products will be remain.
May the force of capitalism, put to transformational use, be with us all.