Why Walmart Is Doing Business with Seventh Generation

GreebBiz Last week, Walmart began selling eco-friendly household products by the company Seventh Generation. Al Dominguez of Walmart, wrote the piece for GreenBiz.com. He notes that this is a surprising move for both companies, especially for Seventh Generation who has strongly criticized Walmart for years. Walmart acknowledges that this partnership represents a great step forward for Walkmart and that they are looking to Seventh Generation for guidance and insight in order to better reach their sustainability goals. 



Posted August 6th, 2010

By Al Dominguez (of Walmart) for GreenBiz.com

On Monday, you will see something in 1,500 Walmart stores across
the country that many people thought would never happen. Walmart will begin carrying products from Seventh Generation,
including laundry detergent, dish soap, disinfecting wipes and
all-purpose cleaning sprays. About a month later, you will find these
and other Seventh Generation products, including diapers, available for
sale at Walmart.com.

Since this partnership was announced, I have had a lot of people ask
me why Walmart is working with a company that has been such a vocal
critic in the past.

The answer is pretty simple:

  • As part of Walmart’s broad goal to sell products that sustain people
    and the environment, we are always looking to expand our number of
    sustainable offerings.
  • Many times your harshest critic may be the most helpful voice you
    hear.

Seventh Generation founder Jeffrey Hollender has challenged us on a
number of issues over the years, but he’s also provided guidance and
insight on how we can become a better, more sustainable company, while
also being open to the opportunities for change that exist because of
Walmart’s global scale.

This partnership will allow Walmart to introduce more consumers to
safe, effective and sustainable household products at affordable prices
because we don’t believe customers should have to choose one over the
other. But this is just the beginning.

This strategic, long-term partnership is an opportunity for both
companies to have influence beyond our “four walls.” In addition to
making these natural products available to millions of additional
consumers, Walmart is able to gain knowledge from a company with 20
years of experience in providing environmentally friendly products in a
transparent manner.

In addition to my day job at Walmart as vice president of household
chemicals, I’m also the captain of our Chemical Intensive Product Sustainable Value Network
(SVN). This group is focused on making the household products on our
shelves, such as shampoo, window cleaner and laundry detergent,
healthier for our customers and their environment.

Seventh Generation, with its history of selling safe, natural
products, is now actively engaged in the SVN. We want to lean on their
expertise and knowledge to help make the entire household chemical
category more sustainable. We are smart enough to know that we don’t
have all the answers, but maybe by coming together, even with our
critics, transformational change can occur.

Chemicals aren’t the only area where our two companies will partner.
Seventh Generation and Walmart are both members of the Sustainability
Consortium, an independent organization of universities that are
collaborating with suppliers, other retailers and government and
non-government groups to help develop consistent, transparent and
scientifically supported data on any product’s sustainability.

Our goal is for this information to lead a Sustainable Product Index
that will help customers make choices and consume in a more sustainable
way, while providing the transparency into the quality and history of
products that is not available today.

At Walmart, sustainability is a long journey and we have learned that
by taking a leadership role and collaborating with companies, like
Seventh Generation, that share our commitment and passion to
sustainability and want to lead with us, entire business systems across
the globe can benefit. Our mission is to help people save money and live
better. We know we can do this while offering products that are
affordable, ethically-sourced, high quality and environmentally
friendly.

Alberto Luis Dominguez, J.D., is the vice president divisional
merchandise manager of Household Paper Goods & Chemicals for Walmart Stores Inc.

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