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Summary:

The big news in the world of sustainability this week is that Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, will launch a labeling system to disclose the environmental impact of the products it sells and will be asking its more than 100,000 suppliers to start tracking things like […]

walmartlogoThe big news in the world of sustainability this week is that Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, will launch a labeling system to disclose the environmental impact of the products it sells and will be asking its more than 100,000 suppliers to start tracking things like the carbon emissions and water use of their goods. For companies that have developed carbon and energy management tools — from startups like Hara to huge software firms like SAP — Wal-Mart’s move is the equivalent of a massive crowbar wedging open the nascent carbon software market.

Wal-Mart is basically saying any company that wants to do business with the 10-ton gorilla retailer will have to provide related environmental impact data, which will lead many to start using this type of software. As Wal-Mart’s Chief Merchandising Officer John Fleming told the Wall Street Journal, companies that don’t supply the data probably won’t have a relationship with Wal-Mart for very long. Wal-Mart plans to use the data in a sustainability index that will rate the products according to their environmental impact, as well as for the labels for the products.

Wal-Mart’s decision also comes at a time of growing momentum for the carbon management industry. Over the last few months, carbon software has started to become one of the hottest topics and investment areas in cleantech. Cleantech-focused VC shop Kleiner Perkins invested $6 million into Hara, which had already been selling its supply chain energy management software to the likes of Coca-Cola and the city of Palo Alto, Calif. SAP bought up 2-year-old carbon software firm Clear Standards, which had raised $4 million from Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Kinetic Ventures. And both Planet Metrics and Carbonetworks raised VC funds towards the end of last year.

Underlying the investments by Wal-Mart and venture capitalists is U.S. legislation coming down the pipeline, most notably the cap-and-trade system proposed in the climate bill currently making its way through the Senate after passing the House earlier this year. In addition to U.S. legislation, other countries in Europe, as well as Japan, already have similar regulations and retailers in those regions have been moving quickly to develop green labels.

Image courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons.

  1. [...] from netbook envy (TheAppleBlog) Sync iTunes with smartphones (Pre included) for free (jkOnTheRun) Wal-Mart’s green ratings: a boon for carbon management software (Earth2Tech) The web worker’s advantage: a nimble business [...]

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  2. [...] Katie Fehrenbacher pointed out that although Wal-Mart is taking the lead in the States, there is international precedent: Underlying the investments by Wal-Mart and venture capitalists is US legislation coming down the [...]

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  3. [...] Comments Posted July 17th, 2009 at 8:31 am in Green IT When the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, tells tens of thousands of suppliers to start tracking and disclosing the environmental impact of their [...]

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  4. Why create another measurement that will only be used at one retailer. What about one with broad market appeal, such as JumpGauge Interactive Labeling (http://www.JumpGauge.com/)? Consumers could use it at all retailers, not just Walmart. Interactive labeling also offers greater transparency and knowledge transfer than a simple questionnaire

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  5. [...] saying any company that wants to do business with the 10-ton gorilla retailer will have to provide related environmental impact data, which will lead many to start using this type of software.” For those of us who’ve [...]

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  6. [...] down in history as a pivotal month for green consumer products. Less than a week after retail giant Wal-Mart said its suppliers must disclose the environmental impact of their products, electronics heavyweight Samsung [...]

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  7. [...] behemoth Wal-Mart’s move to require disclosure of environmental data for all of its products helped tip the nascent carbon software market into the hot zone this [...]

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  8. Hi,
    If you’re interested CNBC is airing an original documentary, “The NEW Age of Walmart” which premieres Wednesday, September 23 at 9P ET on CNBC. The show will discuss the store’s new green policies with the CEO. Check out the sneak peak here: http://bit.ly/12Tnlw
    And for more info:http://bit.ly/l8okr
    Thanks so much and good luck with your work.

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  9. Families for a Clean Tennessee Video Hits the Streets!

    VIEW THE VIDEO NOW!

    Families for a Clean Tennessee released a video reinforcing a poll conducted by Insider Advantage. The poll uncovered that more than 80% of voters oppose dumping nuclear waste in ordinary commercial landfills.

    The poll also uncovered the following:

    • 90% believe nuclear waste should be disposed of in long-term isolation facilities.
    • More than 75% of likely voters-both Democrats and Republicans– are more likely to support a candidate for Governor that is opposed to nuclear dumping and the BSFR program.
    • Nearly 60% are more likely to support a legislative candidate that is opposed to nuclear dumping and the BSFR program.
    • More than 50% have stated they would actively work for the election of any candidate from either party that opposes the dumping of nuclear waste in Tennessee landfills.
    • More than 50% support Senate Bill 687, and more than 60% are more likely to vote for candidates that support Senate Bill 687.
    • 63.5% believe that under no circumstance should nuclear waste be dumped in Tennessee.

    A copy of the poll has been sent to every legislator in Tennessee along with a pledge asking them to support ending the practice of Bulk Survey for Release.

    VIEW THE VIDEO NOW!

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  10. Families for a Clean Tennessee are very concerned about this latest development: DOE wants to ship low-level radioactive waste to an Anderson County landfill from a closed plutonium extraction plant in New York. See the news article at: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/oct/09/doe-wants-ship-low-level-radioactive-waste-anderso/ Equivalent to 200 dump truck loads of waste! We must act now. To support this effort call Senator Tim Burchette at 615-741-1766 now! Tell him you are opposed to accepting New York’s nuclear waste in our backyard! Visit our website for more ways you can help combat this activity at http://www.cleantennessee.org/

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