Environmental activists: Don’t buy Walmart’s “green” PR

Environmental activists from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Environmental Action published a piece in the Huffington Post this week on the current state of Walmart’s environmental efforts, nine years after then-CEO Lee Scott proclaimed that the world’s largest retailer would become a leader on sustainability. An excerpt:

Walmart Foundation gets a new president

Now that its former president, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, has moved on to become director of the Office of Management and Budget and is busy sending out the official memos starting the government shutdown, the Walmart Foundation has named a new president: Kathleen McLaughlin, a senior partner at McKinsey and Co. She starts October 15.

Reuters calls out Walmart on false claim of “leadership” in Made in USA effort

Sounds like the skepticism about Walmart’s vaunted Made in the USA push was well-warranted. Reuters reported yesterday [emphasis added]:

Walmart dips its toe into addressing store understaffing. Maybe.

For months, news report after news report after news report has identified systematic understaffing as the reason for Walmart’s ongoing out-of-stocks problem. (That problem, in turn, has been contributing to low customer confidence, weaker-than-expected sales results, and bizarrely-rigged audits.)

Much ado about nothing? Industry observers skeptical of Walmart’s “Made in USA” push

Remember Walmart’s “Buy American” campaign back in the 80’s? In 1992, a shocking Dateline NBC report on the campaign caused a PR disaster for the company. The show reported that Walmart had in fact sharply increased foreign imports during the campaign, that Walmart suppliers in Asia were using child labor, and that company stores had misleadingly labeled foreign-made garments as Made in America.

The new image guy

Walmart announced yesterday that former Bush administration official Dan Bartlett will replace Leslie Dach as the company’s spin-master/image-polisher (er, we mean “executive vice president of corporate affairs”). Dach was hired back in 2006 to run a campaign to clean up Walmart’s reputation, make it seem like a friendlier, cuddlier corporate citizen, and build bridges with Democrats. In other words, he’s been an extremely busy man for the last seven years and may need a vacation.