Wal-Mart Announces Expansion Of Associate-Driven Personal Sustainability Projects
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (NYSE: WMT) today announced the expansion of its associate-established effort on “Personal Sustainability Projects” (PSPs). Building on Wal-Mart’s company-wide commitment to sustainability, the voluntary PSP program was created by and for associates to help them incorporate the principles of sustainability into their daily lives.
PSPs are associate-driven efforts through which Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club associates develop individual goals to improve their health and wellness and the health of the environment. Throughout 2007, Wal-Mart’s 1.3 million U.S. associates will learn about PSPs and have the opportunity to adopt their own personal sustainability goals. Associates are encouraged to educate their colleagues, customers, families, and communities on personal sustainability and the impact it can have on their daily lives. Wal-Mart also plans to eventually expand the program into its international stores.
“Sustainability has become part of the Wal-Mart culture, and PSPs are one way for associates to become involved – in their stores, their communities and their daily lives,” said Linda Dillman, executive vice president of risk management, benefits and sustainability. “PSPs are being created by and for associates to help make choices that can have a real impact on their personal health and happiness and on their families, neighbors, communities and the environment. We’re excited about what we’ve seen and learned so far and about what can happen as this project grows.”
In July 2006, associates in eight stores in the Denver and Indianapolis areas participated in a pilot PSP program through which they created personal sustainability projects and made a voluntary commitment to meet their goals. Associate PSPs included making healthier food choices, volunteering in their communities and using environmentally friendly products in their homes. After a successful pilot, the program was expanded in October 2006 to 130 Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club locations in Denver, Indianapolis and Tampa test markets.
Through November 2006, associates have reported the following highlights of pilot PSP efforts:
• More than 20,000 associates developed PSPs in the three test markets. In the Denver market alone, 84 percent of associates – more than 3,400 people – adopted PSPs.
• More than 300 associates quit smoking.
• In the Tampa market, 300 associates set up recycling programs in their homes. Paper recycling centers have been established in all stores in the Indianapolis market, and proceeds are donated to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Overall, more than 16 tons of paper, aluminum, and plastic have been recycled as part of the pilot PSP efforts.
• Collectively, associates have lost more than 2,000 pounds – one ton – by eating healthier and exercising more. Associates have also pledged to exercise more, and together they have walked the equivalent of two round trips between New York and Los Angeles.
As one example of a PSP, Kim Nicholson, a membership sales representative for Sam’s Club, received training to present messaging from Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth. She is now speaking to other associates, community members, friends and family on global warming.
“It’s about everyday choices,” Nicholson said about sustainability. “Together, if we all do what is right – change light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs, winterize your house – we can make a more sustainable world.”
Nicholson is also educating her family and her fellow associates on the value of eating well and exercising. During a recent meeting at Wal-Mart’s home office, she succeeded in persuading the company to offer a salad and water combination for the same price as a slice of pizza and soda in all Sam’s Club Cafés.
“Now associates can eat healthy at an affordable price during lunch,” said Nicholson.
Throughout the year, “Captains” from the hourly and salaried levels will hold meetings to educate associates on PSPs. Associates choose their own personal sustainability goals and monitor their progress during a core time period of four to seven weeks, and are then encouraged to integrate their PSP into their daily lives on a long-term basis. In-store training and projects will help reinforce the associates’ plans. Together, associates motivate and encourage one another to pursue their PSPs.
While individuals will focus on their personal goals, they will also work together at the store level to accomplish sustainability goals designed to improve the local community. For instance, some stores have developed recycling programs or are helping their local community to clean up wildlife areas.
“PSPs are about making and sustaining one simple change in life that you can be passionate about – anything from riding a bike to work or using eco-friendly household cleaning products to eating healthy meals instead of fast food or recycling at home,” said Andy Ruben, vice president for corporate strategy and sustainability. “It’s about making choices that make a real difference in both your personal health and the health of the planet.”
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