Picture Al Gore standing in a modest auditorium deep in America’s heartland before an exultant crowd of Wal-Mart employees, comparing their campaign to lighten the company’s environmental footprint to the Allies’ righteous struggle in World War II. This after Rev. Jim Ball, head of the Evangelical Environmental Network, likened the giant retailer’s greening efforts to the work of Jesus Christ. This strange scene unfolded last week in Bentonville, Ark. The occasion was an environmental strategy meeting of some 800 Wal-Mart execs, managers, suppliers and partners, where the heads of the corporation’s various divisions — from seafood and textiles to transportation and packaging — outlined their respective green agendas. The assembled employees did high-energy renditions of the Wal-Mart cheer, complete with fist-raising, grunting, and even a group wiggle. ‘Gimme a W! Gimme an A! Gimme an L! … Whose Wal-Mart is it? Who’s No. 1?’ CEO H. Lee Scott pumped his team up further by calling Wal-Mart’s newfound environmental focus a ‘higher purpose.’ There was also a rare appearance from company chair Rob Walton Jr. — son of Wal-Mart’s legendary founder and, as it happens, a member of Conservation International’s board — who beamed, ‘I love, love hearing the […]

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