09 February 2010

Canadian big-box retailers to meet at eco-summit

Wal-Mart Canada has invited its competitors and other companies to a green business conclave to be held just before the Winter Olympics. Companies who have agreed to attend include Coca-Cola Canada, Colgate-Palmolive Canada, and McDonald's Canada, as well as rivals Canadian Tire and Home Depot Canada. Altogether, 300 executives from business, government, and non-profits will be there.

Here's what Wal-Mart Canada CEO David Cheesewright in a Vancouver Sun op-ed:
Wal-Mart Canada will host some of Canada's top business executives, non-profits and government leaders at the Wal-Mart Green Business Summit in Vancouver. There are two concepts driving the summit. The first is that by demonstrating the business case for more environmentally sustainable business practices, whether lower costs because of greater efficiencies or greater sales because of increased green product, we can show business that green should not be seen as a new set of restrictions: It is a world of opportunity. This will move business to change faster than any regulations can. The second concept is that collaboration is a must. The planet does not have time for all of us to work in silos, wasting time and money recreating more sustainable business practices. We must share green knowledge.

The event, timed to build on publicity from the winter games, seems to be equal parts marketing hoopla and serious summit. Check out the statement from Canadian Tire, as cited in the Environmental Leader:
Competitor Canadian Tire said it viewed its participation in the summit as a platform to discuss its “leadership position” in sustainability.

A little combative, sure. But if big companies are jockeying to be king of the green retail mountain, that's progress, right?

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