Big Green

In the past few weeks, a couple of the world’s largest corporations have released some noteworthy environmental announcements.

Two weeks ago, GE released their first Ecomagination Report. According to this report, GE is now producing over $10 billion annual revenues from environmentally-friendly or sustainable products. I’m sure there’s room for debate on some of those line items, but at least at an approximate level, there’s now a $10 billion company in the environmental space — and its name is GE. Impressive, and because GE tries to dominate wherever and however it competes, their stance is bound to have accelerating impact in the business-to-business community.

Perhaps even more encouraging are the actions of the world’s largest consumer retailer, Wal-Mart — heretofore not well-known as an environmental leader. But, that may be changing. Wal-Mart’s CEO Lee Scott addressed the annual shareholder meeting on June 2, and reinforced last year’s announcment of emphasizing sustainability in Wal-Mart’s operations. Clearly, Wal-Mart sees using less energy and creating less waste as a way to boost profits substantially. According to a few sources, however, it seems that Lee Scott sees the environment as a moral imperative, and wants his tenure at Wal-Mart to leave a legacy of impressive environmental stewardship. Let’s all hope so and wish him well. If Wal-Mart puts the environment at the top of its agenda, its force in the marketplace can be awesome.

I wish that ExxonMobil and some of the bigger electric utilities would start seeing the world in the way that GE, Wal-Mart, Goldman Sachs and others are.

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