Wal-Mart’s Attempts to Leadership
In October 24, 2005, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott made a speech to the public which he entitled “Twenty-First Century Leadership” (Scott, 2005). In this statement to the public Scott presented his visionary outlook on what should be the core responsibility of the company towards its associates – a term the company uses to call its employees – and the community in general.
In this address, Scott proudly stated the prevailing culture of his establishment as not just a company set out in the market and industry of retailing to earn revenue for its own sake but to help marginalized people get the same opportunity to products that the majority in the cities of United States gets. Like the original mission of the firm’s founder Sam Walton, the retail company is still set on the goal of being radical in terms of giving services to the people of America.
Scott stated the legacy that Walton left in the company in pursuit of trying to run a business against the tide of the industry. Moreover, Scott was proud to say that the objective and unconventional business style of the firm’s founder is the reason as to why the company at the present was enjoying an unprecedented continuous growth in the retail industry. But the crux of the speech of Scott was the firm belief of his company to dedicate and allocate its resources to the protection and support for environmental issues that has been plaguing the world, particularly the United States.
To push this new philosophy of his company, he gave as an example the recent tragic event of the Hurricane Katrina that devastated the country. He added that the world saw the picture of “suffering and misery” but they at Wal-Mart experienced this devastating natural catastrophe. He thus started stating the role as a leader that the company should play under this light. The CEO of Wal-Mart enumerated the company’s dedication to the preservation of the environment and its plan of using technology as a way to protect green house effect and to minimize waste production coming from his company.
True to this statement, Wal-Mart at the same year tested two pilot stores in Dallas, Texas and Colorado where the operation ran by 30% more efficiently using less energy and thus producing same rate of less greenhouse gas emission (Payton, 2005). Part of this prototype program was to achieve the goal that its stores should be supplied by 100% renewable energy therefore creating zero waste and at the same time selling products that could sustain the environment and resources (Payton, 2005).
Scott further elaborated his environmental plan of his firm to be the leader in fighting the challenges of: 1) increase in air pollution that leads to asthma and other respiratory diseases, 2) water pollution that is on the rise while safe fresh water supplies are reduced and water-borne diseases that is the cause of millions of death among children, and 3) the destruction of critical habitat that pose as a threat to the diversity of life (Scott, 2005).
As he stated, “As one of the largest companies in the world… environmental problems are OUR problems” (Scott, 2005). To further this plan of taking a lead role in the preservation and protection of environment, CEO Lee Scott even allowed himself to be interviewed by Business Week regarding this social responsibility being taken as an obligation by the company of Wal-Mart. In the transcript of the interview with the magazine, when Scott was asked why after a long time of ignoring critics, his company was now reaching out to them.
His answer to this hard question revolved around the success that Wal-Mart was experiencing and on the things that causes harm to everybody and what responsibility one should take and can do to solve them “Lee Scott On Why,” (2005). Furthermore, Scott was proud to tell the staff of Business Week that the retail company was continuing to growth and evolve in the manner on how it operates and on how it interfaces with society at large “Lee Scott On Why,” (2005).
Pursuing his environmentally-wise move of his establishment, Scott, as was part of his speech in October 24, 2005, was proud to tell about the packaging alteration his company was doing to be environmentally correct. He elaborated this point by saying that: “If you are large, every negative attribute that comes with being large naturally accrues to you. That is where something like [environmental] sustainability is a wonderful opportunity. As we do the right thing, we also have an impact across so many industries [and] countries.
We are finding tremendous cost savings while doing better things for the environment” “Lee Scott On Why,” (2005). More than this, CEO Lee Scott in his speech also stated his plan of action regarding the flight of the company’s associates, its employees. Since the company is reaping the benefits of the dedicated work of its employees he enumerated the assistance that the company is willing to give to them. This assistance that Wal-Mart was aiming to give to its associates/employees would come through intelligent healthcare program that would benefit them.
In Scott’s statement he emphasized that healthcare was another area for the company and to the nation in general and that the firm of Wal-Mart take this with all seriousness. In his action plan for his associates/employees he stated that the company would make quality healthcare options “more affordable and accessible” to them (Scott, 2005). He further added that the company was committed for creating innovation programs and this he would start by taking care of the retail’s own employees through a series of steps, namely: 1. to bring health insurance within reach of all the employees 2.
to offer this ingenious healthcare plan for a cheap price of $11 a month 3. to increase the options of healthcare benefits for the employees 4. to provide tools, education and incentives so that employees can take more personal care regarding their health (Scott, 2005). In general this was the blueprint of the plan contained in the speech delivered by Wal-Mart’s CEO Lee Scott to the public in October 24, 2005. First it was about the role of the company to protect and preserve the environment and lastly its role it would play in giving healthcare benefits to its millions of associates/employees.