The peaceful co-existence of consumption and sustainability, for now anyway

Walmart’s sharpest critics will acknowledge that much good has come of the company’s sustainability efforts, but there are voices who maintain an inherent conflict exists between saving the planet and a business model based on selling as much low-priced stuff as possible to as many people as possible.

This perceived conflict, referred to as the consumption conundrum, is an issue Walmart continues to grapple with as it does ever more on a wide range of sustainability initiatives while simultaneously looking to grow sales by recharging the productivity loop. Both sides in the debate make interesting points, some of which are available for reading on Walmart’s new Green Room Blog or in a recent opinion piece in the New York Times which conveniently organized the views of some though leaders on the subject.

The intelligent debate on sustainability and the future of consumption is refreshing, and those who are suppliers or competitors of the company would be wise to pay close attention as Walmart’s actions on this front will continue to impact both groups.