By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 10:13 AM

An article on Adweek.com featured a new marketing push by Wal-Mart in support of earth month. Evidently, the company that has become infamous for its poor treatment of its employees is focusing on going "green." The article outlined a campaign including TV, radio, internet, and a 16 page insert in May issues of general-interest magazines. The amount of spend was not disclosed, and no it is no wonder. Wal-Mart is probably spending upwards of several MILLION dollars advertising about how great they are, and their contributions to humanity! It is difficult to not be a LITTLE cynical about the company's attempts to restore its public image by jumping on the "greenwagon" to engender goodwill. One has to learn to filter out what is an earnest campaign for furthering a comany's sustainability, and what is simply a marketing ploy.

The article also talks about the company advertising its own line of eco-friendly products. This is where the marketing aspect of this strategy come in. Looking further into the history of this campaign, it seems that the only reason the ad agency came up with this outlook was because the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus made a decision against a current campaign that was claiming a "$2,500 savings for families that shop Wal-Mart per year."

This is just an example of an instance where the consumer needs to decide for themselves what is genuine green behavior from a company, and what is not. The truth is, an informed consumer can really make a difference in the green market today. Consumers drive demand, and when consumer demand true sustainable practices, companies are going to have to listen to remain competitive. Do some research, and know who you're buying from!

A very helpful website for consumers to get the "inside scoop" on what is going on with companies, and their efforts towards sustainability is the website: http://www.environmentalleader.com/ . It features news, editorial, and sustainable business information that is objective, and can really help the consumer understand how business looks at sustainability.

Jihae Lim

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