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Advertising Age reports that while Wal-Mart has lost some of its aura of marketing invincibility lately, the retailer “has morphed into something else -- a sort of privatized Environmental Protection Agency, only with a lot more clout. The EPA can levy a seven-figure fine; Wal-Mart can wipe out more than a quarter of a business in one fell swoop” if it doesn’t like the environmental priorities of the companies with which it does business.

Which is how, “in a show of force no government likely could pull off, Wal-Mart Stores CEO Lee Scott summoned 250 CEOs to a Rogers, Ark., convention center Oct. 10 to outline his plans to hold them accountable for their ‘carbon footprints’ and scrutinize away their excess packaging,” Ad Age reports. “The need to pay homage kept many of them in town another day, as 600 supplier executives attended a $750-a-head seminar on Wal-Mart's favorite subject, sustainability, to support one of its pet projects, the Center for Retail Excellence at the University of Arkansas' Sam M. Walton College of Business.”

This is something that Wal-Mart takes seriously, and CEO Scott “made clear that neither consumers nor Wal-Mart is willing to pay more for sustainability. Twenty percent of Wal-Mart consumers don't even have checking accounts, he said. And he pointedly raised a pen he'd picked up from the Embassy Suites hosting the conference, saying all Wal-Mart managers are supposed to pick up pens and notepads at any hotel or function they visit for use back at the office.”
KC's View:
I suppose the ultimate message here is that if you are hosting Wal-Mart executives at any sort of event, you need to lock up your stationery and dole out the supplies very carefully.

Though you have to admire these guys. There’s a kind of relentless, ruthless dedication and focus to so many of the things that Wal-Mart does that so few other companies can or would even try to replicate. There’s also a sense of a giant company potentially picking at the bones of much smaller entities…but I suppose that’s the difference between being a victor and a victim.