Arun Sudhaman 09 Apr 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
BENTONVILLE, AR--Walmart is rethinking the PR approach to its group-wide sustainability strategy, as part of a bid to better connect consumers with its efforts in this area.
The Holmes Report has learned that the giant retailer called on roster agencies to present credentials and ideas to help build awareness of the steps it has taken to improve its environmental record in recent years.
It is understood that no written brief was issued for the assignment, which is being led by the company’s corporate PR team. “They want to continually inform and involve customers in sustainability efforts,” said one source involved in the pitch. “It is about connecting the dots and giving themselves a proper corporate platform.”
Walmart’s consumer PR roster includes Cohn & Wolfe, GolinHarris, Ketchum and Porter-Novelli, while Edelman also supports the firm at a corporate and public affairs level. Fees for the sustainability project have not been set, although a source said they were unlikely to exceed $1 million per year.
Walmart has unveiled a number of sustainability initiatives in recent years, after considerable criticism of its environmental record, supply chain practices, and impact on local communities. The company has announced ambitious carbon emission targets, and has also taken the lead on clean energy and green design.
In addition, the company’s Sustainability Index aims to rank each of its products according to how sustainably they were produced, based on an assessment of its suppliers environmental practices. Other efforts include a more recent drive to promote healthy eating, and to ultimately produce zero waste.
Sources noted that, while individual programs have attracted attention, the company is hoping to benefit from a more cohesive approach that presents them as part of a unified corporate strategy.
Walmart’s PR department did not respond to request for comment.