Synopses & Reviews
What happens when a renowned river guide teams up with the CEO of one of the largest and least Earth-friendly corporations in the world? When it's former Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott and white-water expert turned sustainability consultant Jib Ellison, the result is nothing less than a green business revolution.
Wal-Mart—long the target of local businesses, labor advocates, and environmentalists who deplore its outsourced, big-box methods—has embraced an unprecedented green makeover, which is now spreading worldwide. The retail giant that rose from Sam Walton's Ozarks dime store is leveraging the power of 200 million weekly customers to drive waste, toxics, and carbon emissions out of its stores and products. Neither an act of charity nor an empty greenwash, Wal-Mart's green move reflects its river guide's simple, compelling philosophy: that the most sustainable, clean, energy-efficient, and waste-free company will beat its competitors every time. Not just in some distant, utopian future but today.
From energy conservation, recycling, and hybrid trucks to reduced packaging and partnerships with environmentalists it once met only in court, Wal-Mart has used sustainability to boost its bottom line even in a tough economy—belying the age-old claim that going green kills jobs and profits. Now the global apparel business, the American dairy industry, big agriculture, and even Wall Street are following Wal-Mart's lead, along with the 100,000 manufacturers whose products must become more sustainable to remain on Wal-Mart's shelves. Here Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author Edward Humes charts the course of this unlikely second industrial revolution, in which corporate titans who once believed profit and planet must be at odds are learning that the best business just may be a force of nature.
"Wal-Mart the world's largest, arguably most powerful corporation has long been plagued by terrible PR and a never-ending slew of lawsuits. Enter Jib Ellison, river guide turned corporate consultant, determined to convince executives that making a profit and building a sustainable business are not mutually exclusive and would, in fact, confer a powerful competitive advantage. Ellison has instituted a project at Wal-Mart called 'The Index' that challenges suppliers to root out inefficiency and waste. Packaging has shrunk, saving millions of gallons of water, millions of pounds of cardboard, not to mention diesel fuel. Wal-Mart's sheer size, coupled with its lowest-pricing mission, means that producers are forced to take steps toward sustainability and make natural, organic, and earth-friendly products widely available. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Humes (Eco Barons) offers a stirring story of how ecologically responsible practices are increasingly benefiting the bottom line, and how as Wal-Mart goes global (and tries to lure back the more green-conscious consumer decamping for Target), the biggest retailer in the world is, slowly but surely, encouraging a change for the better. A fascinating, fair-minded look at the congruence between environmentalism and business, and the behemoth at the intersection. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Edward Humes is the author of ten critically acclaimed nonfiction books, including Eco Barons, Monkey Girl, Over Here, School of Dreams, Baby E.R., Mean Justice, No Matter How Loud I Shout, and the bestseller Mississippi Mud. He has received the Pulitzer Prize for his journalism and numerous awards for his books. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sierra. He lives in California.