Wal-Mart Asks: How Much Energy Does it Take to Make Toothpaste?

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Wal-Mart’s (WMT) eco initiatives are controversial, to say the least. Though the megachain continues to think up new ways to focus on green. Today, the company announced a partnership with nonprofit org the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to measure the amount of energy used to make and distribute products.

By quantifying the energy used, Wal-Mart hopes to make its whole supply chain more energy efficient and is starting by focusing on energy usage in seven “ordinary products that people commonly use” – DVDs, toothpaste, soap, milk, beer, vacuum cleaners and soda.

The superstore operator, often criticized for its labor policies and impact on local economies, is actually making substantial commitments with its sustainable energy initiatives and has even been convincing some environmentalists as of late. The company is so big that any urging on its part to get product producers to minimize their carbon emissions is likely to have some success.

Wal-Mart’s announcement comes alongside the release of CDP’s Global Corporate Climate Change Report for 2007, a survey that included responses from 77 percent of the world’s 500 largest companies. The report found that 76 percent of these companies have a green house gas emissions reduction program in place, compared to 48 percent last year. At the same time, Sun Microsystems (JAVA) decided to tout the launch of their Open Eco site, where companies can discuss steps they’ve taken to reduce their carbon emissions and new ideas for energy efficiency.

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