Some tidbits from the morning sessions on Sustainability in Business:
- Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club is huge. Any teensy thing they do to be more sustainable creates a tsunami of change. When they change one thing, such as asking their vendors to reduce their secondary packaging (example: making a smaller Smarties box to fit the actual product inside, cutting down on shrink wrapping, changing the size of milk bottles to reduce transportation costs), those changes really make a difference because of how many units Wal-Mart sells. For example, just with the Smarties Egg box above, the smaller packaging cut consumer waste by 700 tonnes this year. And that’s just with one product!
- Total Cost of Ownership – This traditionally addressed the cost to buy the product and the cost to own it and run it. It was often a metric for comparing cars or appliances. Now, companies are including the environment in their total cost of ownership as they plan their product life cycle. In another “wow” economy of scale factoid, without compromising product quality, Nestle reduced of 392 000 tonnes of packaging material between 1991 and 2008 by starting to look at their supply chain and the bigger picture on cost of ownership. To learn more about what Wal-Mart is doing to help reduce their supply chain waste and their efforts to become a zero-waste company, click here to read their 2009 Sustainability Report.
I have more notes to share – on capturing opportunity out of chaos and notes from Meg Whitman’s talk – but they will have to wait for another day. Tonight, we’re headed out on a cruise around the bay to network and take in the amazing sights of San Diego at night.