ET: Some would say Walmart has been slow in responding to the need to tackle climate change by switching to clean air technologies. (Ikea for example has had wind and solar power installations for some years.) How do you respond?
B: It is a complicated undertaking to find renewable energy solutions for Walmart’s operations globally, but we have made tremendous progress. The right set of conditions, such as mature technologies and providers, available finance capital and favorable regulatory framework, are needed for renewable energy to meet its full potential, and Walmart’s commitment to renewable energy includes working with stakeholders to make the market more favorable.
ET: Walmart is the largest employer, retailer and public corporation ranked by revenue in the world. Are you doing enough to lead on the issue of green technology?
B: We were recognized this year by the EPA Green Power Partnership program as the second-largest onsite greenpower generator in the U.S. and the third-largest green power purchaser. Walmart has 180 renewable energy projects in operation or under development. Earlier this month we reached a milestone of 100 solar power installations on Walmart facilities in the United States and we are planning to expand our solar portfolio to 75 percent of our stores, throughout California by the end of 2013.
ET: Do you think Walmart still has an image problem when it comes to its green credentials?
B: We partner with many environmental NGOs including the World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund and the National Resource Defense Council to reduce our environmental impact. We still have a long way to go but good work is taking place every day across our global operations to make us a more responsible and sustainable company.