When the world’s largest retailer says it is doing something to make people healthier, we listen. Walmart announced this week that they are reducing fat, sugar and sodium in their private-label foods, and will start marketing other healthy food items in April with their new “Great for You” icon. Walmart is already the largest seller of organic produce in the United States, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the big blue retailers green initiatives. Though they aren’t all green, they are doing a lot to bring affordable, healthy food and eco-education to the masses and for that we say, bravo.
Last year the box retailer said it would join First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to fight obesity by offering affordable healthy alternatives in their stores. They also announced that they’d initiate the “Great for You” campaign to help educate their customers on which foods are better for them.
“Today’s announcement by Walmart is yet another step toward ensuring that our kids are given the chance to grow up healthy,” said First Lady Michelle Obama upon the announcement. “Just over a year ago, Walmart committed to save shoppers a billion dollars in their cost of fruits and vegetables and the fact that Walmart exceeded this number is a real accomplishment and a milestone in our efforts to support families eating better. In addition, the healthy seal will be another tool for parents to identify the best products for their kids. Giving parents the information they need to make healthy choices is a key piece of solving childhood obesity.”
In addition to their healthy food initiatives, Walmart has made a number of other strides to make themselves greener. They sell only concentrated laundry detergents in order to cut emissions from shipping, they’ve banned toxic PBDE flame retardants from their stores, have installed tags to track the life cycle of the clothing they sell, have announced plans to slash their greenhouse gas emissions, and have installed massive renewable energy arrays in order to make good on those promises.
So, though we’re not happy that big box stores like Walmart tend to push out small local businesses, we can’t deny that in some places Walmart is the only option — and it is great to know they realize the worth of moving into the future in a sustainable way.