The Greenwashing of Walmart

Walmart has put a big push into looking better on the environment, including PR campaigns and buying off supposed progressives by hiring them for large salaries to spearhead various initiatives.  It's paying off for them on the cocktail party circuit, apparently.

BOB & HARVEY WEINSTEIN invite you to attend a special event to honor

H. LEE SCOTT, JR.

President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for his commitment to environmental sustainability.

special performance by

THE EAGLES

Monday, October 23, 2006

6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. cocktails
7:30 p.m. dinner

The Pegasus Room at The Rainbow Room

30 Rockefeller Plaza
49th Street at Fifth Avenue, 64th floor

business attire

with hosts

Lee Ainslie
Irving Azoff
Tim Brown
Geoffrey Canada
James E. Cayne
James Dolan
Trevor Drinkwater
Glenn Dubin
Kin Jeffrey
Vivi Nevo
Ronald O. Perlman
Peter G. Peterson
Robert W. Pittman
Steve Rattner
Joseph Ravitch
Charlie Rose
Paul Tudor Jones II
Bob Wright

Our elites are such morons.

Tags: Walmart (all tags)

Comments

15 Comments

Never liked the Weinsteins

Mostly because of their Oscar buying ways. I know everyone does it but they were so... blatant about it.

That said parties are cheap, it's actions that matter. If it were me I would take the salary go to the parties and still beat up Wal-Mart when they screwed up which is often. The salary and parties wouldn't last after that, but hey at least it'd be nice for a while.

by MNPundit 2006-10-17 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

A Walmart party.

Who says something can't be lame and evil at the same time?

by Bush Bites 2006-10-17 09:02PM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

The Eagles are gonna release their new album through Wal-Mart...ain't that America...

by shorehero 2006-10-17 10:21PM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

This is just B.S.  Everytime we think there is a chance at change, those with a "B" in front of their total worth slap us in the face.  We should remember that the state legislatures and even U.S. House are citizen-based.  Perhaps we need to push for more grassroots candidates, instead of the Fighting Dems we need the Working Dems.

by Robert P 2006-10-18 02:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

Funny that Charlie Rose is on the invitee list (although no surprise there as he recently did a show on Walmart featuring Scott, and he's clearly an A-lister on the NYC cocktail party circuit).

I just wrote a comment about him on Glenn Greenwald's blog:

A bit off-topic, but what is everyone's opinion of Charlie Rose. He hosts a nightly interview show on PBS that's usually on at 11, and has all the big names on sooner or later.

Right now he's interviewing Gorbachov, who while discussing Iran mentioned that Bush recently ordered a naval task force to steam towards the Persian Gulf near Iran, and that it's due to arrive soon. He wondered what reason there was for this, and asked Rose if he was familiar with this. Rose, unsurprisingly, said that he hadn't--and he's a journalist, for Christ's sake, and this isn't exactly priviledged information of something out of a CT site. It's been all over the news, and is a fact, and yet Rose didn't know about it.

I've long wondered about Rose, given the kinds of guests he has on, how fawning he is towards the most famous and powerful of them no matter how loathsome (e.g. Kissinger, Baker, Chalabi, Wolfowitz), whether he's just a lazy-ass idiot starfucker who loves being able to tell the folks on the cocktail party circuit whom he's lined up for his show, and to be able to mingle with all of them publically, like Tweety, or if he's just another shill for the powers that be, a gun for hire, like Armstrong Williams.

I only ask here because it's people like Rose who, whether knowingly and intentionally or not, enable right-wing thugs like Bush, Cheney, Frist and their ilk by legitimizing them on their shows and not holding their feet to the fire, and I'm just wondering if this is something that they do knowingly, or because they're just damn stupid.

And, to my knowledge, he has yet to have a show about the detainee law and its implications, and has pretty much ducked the whole NSA wiretap and now Foley scandals, along with the GOP's imminent collapse. It's like he's deliberately trying to shut out anything that doesn't fit into his Friedmanesque Pollyannaish worldview. He's kind of like Russert for the merlot-sipping crowd.

Any thoughts?

by kovie 2006-10-18 02:54AM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

I saw the Rose "interview" with Lee Scott. It was unprecedented. It included produced segments, a trip to a store to interview happy workers and the briefest mention (not to Scott) of the anti-Walmart groups and the legal cases Walmart is facing.

Why Rose is such an ass-kisser is beyond me. Larry King gets ridiculed for this all the time, I don't know why Rose gets a pass.

For daily comments about Walmart from a variety of perspectives please visit the group blog The Writing on the Wal at:

http://thewritingonthewal.net

by rdf 2006-10-18 05:39AM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

I read recently that several years ago Rose took on Coke as a major sponsor and even hosted its annual shareholders' meeting (in possible violation of PBS rules). And, as we all know, PBS and the CPB have themselves been infiltrated by right-wing operatives in recent years. So either Rose sold out, whether or not out of choice, or else he's just taken his obvious fixation on and adulation for rich, famous and powerful people to the next level.

Rose is an example of what I see as the more subtle and nuanced side of the pernicious creep of the right into the corporate media. For every Fox, Rush or Coulteresque moron, there's a Rose, King or Russert. The former are intended to do a snow job on less educated and sophisticated people, while the latter are meant more for the latte and merlot crowd.

And they're not even necessarily doing this knowingly and intentionally. Rose is not an idiot--check out his educational and professional background--but he's also quite lazy and naive, and has allowed himself to be taken in by all the bullshit and lies that have slowly established themselves as conventional wisdom and truth. His obvious need to be loved and respected by the "in crowd" further diminishes his willingness, ability and desire to think critically and be up on what's really happening in the world. In a sense, he's been turned into a "Stepford Host", and doesn't even know it. Or, more likely, he suspects it deep down, but is too terrified and gutless to acknowledge and change it.

This creeping and subtle co-opting of the corporate media by the right (many of whose members, I believe, continue to think of themselves as centrist to slightly left of center, even if reality indicates otherwise) has been going on for years, and most members of the media who have been hijacked by it are probably not even consciously aware of it. Or they are--or are beginning to--and, like Rose, are too scared and gutless to admit and do anything about it.

This was revealed in astonishing manner by Stephen Colbert at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner, when the crowd responded with deafening silence when he poked fun at their complicity in covering up for the GOP and Bush. You could have heard a pin drop. It was downright earie, if not frightening.

I suspect that this whole crowd--an entire generation or two of cowed and discredited journalists--are going to be in for the shock of their lives soon as the political tide turns away from a bullshit-based ideological "Reagan conservatism", back to a more progressive and reform-based brand of politics that actually seeks to get things done. They will all have to recalibrate their bullshit detectors (i.e. activate them after years of being turned off) and actually report on the news, and not spin it.

And I expect (or at least hope) to see more Feingolds, Chomskys and Greedwalds on Rose's show, and fewer (if any) Kissingers. Wolfowitzes and Kristols. We need to sweep the bullshit aside at last, en masse--cuz it just stinks.

by kovie 2006-10-18 03:47PM | 0 recs
Apply for a job

I've always wanted to apply for a job there - and list my previous work experience as "union organizer"....

by Michael Bersin 2006-10-18 02:57AM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

Elite Washington Consensus Free-Trade Bloomberg Democrats.

"Don't worry, you can exploit workers and destroy the environment in China as long as your buildings are energy efficient! Those other issues are just icky anyway. Now let's all feel good about ourselves!"

by adamterando 2006-10-18 04:17AM | 0 recs
Walmart walkout in Florida

Isn't it funny that we haven't read about this Walmart walkout?   Walmart is not family friendly.  If they were family friendly they'd offer benefits, health insurance, better working conditions, etc.
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnfl ash/content/oct2006/db20061017_601244.ht m?chan=top+news_top+news+index_top+story

...Now, as Wal-Mart rolls out a new round of workplace restrictions, employees at a Wal-Mart Super Center in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., are taking matters into their own hands. On Oct. 16, workers on the morning shift walked out in protest against the new policies and rallied outside the store, shouting "We want justice" and criticizing the company's recent policies as "inhuman." Workers said the number of participants was about 200, or nearly all of the people on the shift.

It's the first time that Wal-Mart has faced a worker-led revolt of such scale, according to both employees and the company. Just as surprising, the company quickly said it would change at least one of the practices that had sparked the protest. Late in the day on Oct. 16, there was some disagreement over which of the new policies would be put on hold....

Hats off to Hialeah Gardens, Florida!!!

by Marie Smith 2006-10-18 05:50AM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

Heck, I don't even recognize those names, other than the Eagles and Charlie Rose. Does that mean I'm not among the elite??

by Omark 2006-10-18 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

The fucking Eagles.  Don Henley Must Die, indeed.

by dr bloor 2006-10-18 06:53AM | 0 recs
Re: The Greenwashing of Walmart

FWIW, the people involved in greening out wal-mart are enamoured with the idea that they can utilize the worlds largest corporation to mainstream things like locally-sourced food, organic cotton, and the whole "sustainable living" package.

I'm as skeptical as they come, especially since this feels more like PR than real change, but on the other hand the Wam*Mart model of a global supply chain with big-box outlets isn't going away, so getting them to go green(er) would be a good thing. There's a profit motive for this too, in the non-sustainable methods will (eventually) become unprofitable, so it's not impossible to think that there may be some substance to the initiative.

On the other hand, it doesn't ameleorate their labor practices in the slightest.

But i think this is more of a challange than Matt's "our elites are idiots" comment admits. Wal*Mart isn't going to vanish. Their physical infrastructure alone virtually assures that. The question is how to try and turn them into a good actor in society.

by Josh Koenig 2006-10-18 07:05AM | 0 recs
Wal-Mart: Don't be so quick to criticize...
Many of their activities are in fact "Green" and not just "Greenwashing". Others have done a great job at documenting their atrocities with labor around the world. That is well known and I will neither repeat nor attempt to justify it in this post. However, in addition to "Labor", another progressive issue is having a secure and sustainable energy policy. As an environmental professional, I know that Wal-Mart has engaged some of the nation's most forward-thinking environmental consultants (such as RMI and Webach). Wal-Mart is an enormous leverage point within the industry and if they can fundamentally move the trucking industry to double their fuel efficiency (because it's economic, not just because governments force them to), they can save $500 million in fuel and help reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gases. They are also collaborating with some progressive utility companies to promote millions of compact-fluorescent light bulbs that currently make-up less than 10% of market. These products will avoid the need for large coal or even potential nuclear power plants. As a progressive, these are real changes that I support. It's my obligation to support them while simultaneously criticizing their faults when they are based on facts. Unfortunately, our world is more complicated than simply good versus evil--that tends to be an oversimplification I hear more from our opposition. So, what are we supposed to do when there is an opportunity to make real change that may include working together with people who you typically feel do not share your values? The Clinton Global Initiative has Barbra Streisand and Rupert Murdoch working together. I admit there is a limit (had Hitler called in the 1940's to improve the energy-efficiency of his rail system, I'd hope people would refuse), however, in this case, I'm not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
by smeyers 2006-10-18 07:24AM | 0 recs
Don't confuse enviro w/ progressive

smeyers is right - Walmart is doing some pretty big things on the environmental front, and for the enviro community it's a big important target b/c of their massive effect on vendors and economies of scale.  Ford is a greenwasher who cozied up to big enviro groups, built nothing more than one green factory, and still has nothing in it's product line that is environmentally-friendly at the level of it's Japanese rivals.  Walmart however (as far as I've been able to follow it so far) is making massive changes with huge ripple effects across the industrial sphere.  Certainly, there are legitimately areas where the big box model is in essence environmentally problematic, but it's also (probably irreversibly) dominant in our society and to date there's nothing we can do about it.

I write this in part, b/c I don't tend to like how greenwashing is used in this context - Walmart isn't greenwashing to date (how they meet their commitments will determine if they end up doing greenwashing) - they're anti-labor for sure, not at all progressive certainly, but not greenwashing.  

I'm not a fan of Walmart and I say keep hammering them on labor, but seeing a set of comments on their latest stuff I worry (and from other comments) that folks in the progressive sphere don't really get their relationship with enviros.  First of enviromentalists are not inherently progressive.  Many are but MANY aren't and I know that from meeting environmental group members for years.  The leadership of many enviro groups is progressive, moreso than their members, which is the opportunity for the movement in converting enviros to general progressivism.

The other point, is that in the political world I see much more an environmental movement than a progressive movement.  For example - the religious right is a movement, folks come out of a culture with it's constant reinforcement rituals (going to church, bake sales, bible study, teaching Sunday school) and become politicized and then add in political rituals (GOTV, following issues, writing letters, etc).  Progressive have no such identity - they come in for campaigns, maybe in the interim they send in LTEs, donate, write on blogs, but that's not a culture becoming politicized it's already politicized people doing more.  Even labor, I think doesn't have that cultural level of identity that made it a movement in the early Mother Jones days where it was a community first, politically active second.  BUT, enviros are a movement.  Folks are redesiging all aspects of their personal lives on their own - what they buy, what they eat, composting, green burials, green weddings, etc.  And many are not politically oriented while doing this, their politics is coming out the culture.  And more than any other group enviro is reaching out to new cultures (evangelists, hook and bullet, etc) and working to get them in the enviro culture.

I know this is sort of a big tangent.  But I put this all in under Walmart, b/c a) this is going to keep happening.  Enviromental principles for many industries make economic sense, and as enviros and labor team up against a target, the target will split them off, appeasing enviro and not labor.  And while that will annoy progressive enviros, for the enviro movement as a whole it will be a mighty and celebrated victory.  So, while I'm happy with folks pounding on Walmart for labor, I guess I'm just putting in a caution using Walmart as an example, from stuff I've seen on them and in the blogs on issue groups overall.  It's not just about groups being narrowly issue oriented - it's about the identities out there.  And as identities among the public both labor or enviro are far bigger groups out there (and not per se progressive) than self-defined liberals or progressives.  As the constituencies get split off on tangible legislative or corporate victories, as they always will, progressives must be careful that they aren't just talking to the loser but also the winner and acknowledging the good things that have come to pass for them.  Because enviros do not need to convert progressives, but progressives do need to convert a lot of the enviros.

by ahisma 2006-10-18 11:50AM | 0 recs

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