Walmart, America’s largest discount retailer, and Microsoft Corporation, plan to integrate clean tech technologies into their operations to cut down on pollution and wastes, as well as conserve energy. At a recent meeting investors, government officials and various executives both companies outlined plans they have cut down on the use of paper and plastic products, adapt renewable energy sources into their operations and integrate the use of Cleantech products and services into their operations.
Both plan to work together with the Cleantech Group to make their operations more environmentally friendly and with less reliance on conventional use of energy. Walmart plans to reach a “zero-waste” solution to the huge amounts of plastic, paper, and other waste products that originate their network of stores and eventually wind up in landfills and other waste dumping sites. While admitting that these policies were originally adopted as a “defensive measure” due to pressure from environmental groups, company executives now see that not only will these measures reduce wastes and other pollutants, but will save the company millions of dollars in the long run.
Some of these clean tech measures include recycling of cardboard and plastic materials (saving the company as much as $10 m a year), installing low heat lighting in its food refrigeration and freezing units (a $2.5 m annual savings), saving between 15 – 20% on fuel costs on it’s truck fleets by installing auxiliary power units (to cut down fuel waste by idling engines), and saving another $1 m by removing light bulbs from employee soft drink machines (doesn’t seem like much but it all adds up in the end).
Microsoft executives admitted that their company has very different Cleantech priorities than a company like Walmart, and besides reducing wastes when manufacturing and packing its software products ( for which it will undertake recycling measures like Walmart does) it plans to work with the thousands of independent vendors the company deals with to help them find solutions to their own environmental problems. In addition, the company is also embarking on projects to encourage information technology students it works with to create and develop environmentally friendly software and Cleantech awareness programs for the millions of users of Microsoft products.