New Wal-Mart boss declares desire to "accelerate" green effo

Wal-Mart's new incoming president and chief executive, Mike Duke, last week insisted he was "very, very committed" to the sustainability strategy launched by his predecessor Lee Scott back in 2005, adding that he would seek to " accelerate" and "broaden" the company's green initiatives when he takes over the reins of the world's largest retailer.

Speaking alongside Scott at the company's 2009 Sustainability Milestone Meeting, Duke said that the company would continue to work towards meeting its various green targets, such as its goal to become a zero waste operation and source all its energy from renewable sources, while stepping up pressure on suppliers to improve their environmental performance.

Describing the company's sustainability efforts as "not optional", Duke told employees that the retailers' environmental initiatives would become more ambitious.

"We want to accelerate our efforts in sustainability. We want to broaden our efforts," he said.

He also hinted that the performance of the company's staff would be tied more closely to their ability to meet environmental targets.

"No matter what your job is - even from our hourly associates to our frontline supervisors to our senior leadership - sustainability is an opportunity to demonstrate leadership," he said. "You will see that the leaders that get ahead in Wal-Mart will be the ones who demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. You won't be able, in the future, to be viewed in the same way if you put this on the back burner."

The comments came as Wal-Mart unveiled new sustainability targets for its operations in Canada and Latin America, committing to reduce phosphates in laundry and dish detergents by 70 per cent by 2011 and reduce packaging levels in its stores five per cent by 2013.

The company said that it would extend the sustainable packaging which it operates in the US to other markets in the Americas, providing buyers within the company with the ability to help them select products with the most sustainable packaging.

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