FORTUNE -- Wal-Mart has taken on a massive green project. CEO Mike Duke said, in 2009, that the retailer would build a sustainability index to track the environmental impact for the entire life cycle of every single product it sells. For many reasons, this has been a challenging process.
But soon, consumers will be able to see the payoff, said Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Wal-Mart's Sam's Club division at Fortune's Brainstorm Green Conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Wal-Mart (WMT) is looking to launch a pilot system that will offer detailed product sustainability information to consumers within the next 12 months.
That's fine, but will it change consumer behavior? There's evidence that it will, Brewer said, especially for Sam's Club members, who are, in general, more affluent than the average Wal-Mart consumer. Sam's Club customers are willing to spend on premium products such as Greek yogurt, grass-fed beef, and organic milk on a consistent basis, a surprising trend considering the current economic environment.
Granted, consumers still want Wal-Mart and Sam's Club to keep prices down. During Wal-Mart's February 21 earnings report, Brewer said, "Recent traffic patterns of our business members indicate that they are more deliberate in their spending due to macroeconomic factors." Or, in other words, times are still tight.
It will be a while before Wal-Mart can evaluate how its sustainability index will affect sales. But one of the interesting parts of the mega-company's index is how it will apply to projects beyond food. For example, the company wants to increase its energy efficiency in an effort to save $1 billion in costs by 2020, Brewer said, claiming that the company plans to pass on those savings to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club customers.
"We know how important that $40,000-a-year household is," she said. "They should not have to pay more for things that are better for them."
Motorola should have released this a month ago.
Amazon.com (AMZN), Best Buy (BBY), Costco (COST), RadioShack (RSH), Sam's Club, Staples(SPLS) and Walmart (WMT) will all be selling the Motorola (MMI) XOOM on March 27th, Motorola announced today. The $599, 32GB tablet matches up with Apple's(AAPL) 32GB Wifi iPad on price but offers some interesting differentiators:
It will have the ability to play Adobe's (ADBE)Flash when it is launched on Friday
It will be MORE
A guide for shoppers who can't wait for the lines to subside
As you may have heard, Apple's (AAPL) new and improved iPad 2 goes on sale in the U.S. Friday at 5 p.m. local time.
Unlike the first model, which was initially available only through Apple's retail stores and selected Best Buy outlets, buyers this year have choices -- more than 10,000 of them, each with their pros and cons. They MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 8, 2011 7:35 AM ET
The mystery of Steve Jobs' iPhone retail strategy deepens with reports that Apple (AAPL) will begin selling its smartphones at Wal-Mart (WMT) three days after Christmas.
According to the Boy Genius Report, a blog with relatively reliable backchannel sources at AT&T, Apple will start with select Wal-Mart and Sam's Club outlets on Dec. 28, and eventually roll the iPhone out to 2,500 Wal-Mart owned stores.
The deal, if confirmed, would represent the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 19, 2008 10:13 AM ET
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